The bomb was recovered during an operation in Pallabi’s Kalshi area
A bomb explosion at Pallabi police station compound in Dhaka has left five people, including four policemen, injured.
The incident occurred at around 6am on Wednesday.
Pallabi police station Officer-in-Charge Nazrul Islam said a police team recovered the bomb, which was hidden inside a digital weighing machine commonly used in general stores, during an operation in Pallabi’s Kalshi area early on Wednesday. Three local criminals were also arrested during the operation.
The bomb accidentally went off when the policemen tried to defuse it at the police station.
The injured are Inspector (Operation) Imran, Sub Inspector (SI) Sajib, Provisional Sub Inspectors (PSI) Rumi and Ankush, and a civilian named Riaz.
All the injured were initially admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
PSI Rumi and civilian Riaz are still undergoing treatment at the emergency department. Both of them sustained injuries to their limbs while Riaz had injuries to his abdomen too.
PSI Ankush sustained an eye injury and was transferred to an eye hospital while Inspector Imran and SI Sajib were released after primary treatment.
All this comes against the backdrop of recent intelligence reports suggesting the members of New JMB, who follow Islamic State (IS) ideology, could try to carry out attacks in Bangladesh, including against police establishments, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
However, the authorities concerned have denied any involvement of militants in the incident and suspect that it was the doing of local criminal groups.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Rahmat Ullah, Additional Deputy Commissioner, DMP's Bomb Disposal Unit of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC), said: “The bomb that exploded did not seem to be improvised explosive devices (IED) from any militant groups.
“Rather, these types of bombs are used by local criminals.”
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, denying any possibilities of militants being involved in the explosion, said: “Those who were arrested are members of a robbery gang.
“More can be said after further investigation.”
DMP Deputy Commissioner (Media) Md Walid Hossain said: “The arrestees are contract killers. Police had information that they were planning to kill a political leader of Pallabi.
“A three-member probe committee has been formed to investigate the blast. The members have been instructed to submit their report within three days”
DMP’s Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Md Shah Abid Hossain will lead the probe body, he added.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Additional Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy said: “Recently, a group of criminals have been committing different crimes in Mirpur region. A team, led by the Mirpur deputy commissioner (DC), was trying to nab them for several days.
“Acting on a tip-off, Pallabi police arrested three members of the group near Kalshi cemetery at around 2am while the other members managed to flee. The trio had firearms, four rounds of bullets and a device, which looked like a weighing machine, in their possession.”
The weight machine seemed suspicious, which was why the police called the bomb disposal unit. A member of the bomb disposal unit came to the station and analyzed the device. Later, he sought help from a member of the unit specialised in defusing bombs and asked him to come to the station with a few more tools.
While they were waiting for the other member to arrive, the bomb exploded, injuring the four policemen and Riaz -- who worked as an assistant at the police station, he added.
Meanwhile, the expert team arrived at the station and secured the area. On suspicion of more explosives, they further analyzed the device and finally defused two more bomb-like objects at around 11:30am, thus saving the police station, said Krishna Pada.
“All our units are working to find out the purpose of the criminals, where the bombs came from, and how they would use it,” he added.
The additional commissioner also said: “The three arrestees are being interrogated and we are trying to find out who else was involved.
“They are not related to any militant group but are members of a criminal group. They were planning to commit a crime and might have used the explosives to kill someone, to rob, to threaten the victims, or to escape from the police,” he added.
“We can relate the details after investigations,” said Krishna.
After investigation, it can also be ascertained how powerful or dangerous the bomb was. Everyone heard the sound of the explosion but the walls of the station were not damaged, he added.
Recently, police were asked to remain alert. Krishna said it was not a red alert; However, special security measures for the upcoming Eid and month of August had been taken, as previously many attacks happened in this month.
Meanwhile, the three arrestees -- Rafiqul Islam, 40, Shahidul Islam, 24, and Mosharraf Hossain, 26 – were taken to the office of the Detective Branch of Police at around 2:20pm for further interrogation.