• Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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How Bangladesh is winning the war on militancy

  • Published at 01:13 am July 28th, 2018
From 2016 to 2017, law enforcement agencies raided at least 30 major militant dens <strong>Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune</strong>
From 2016 to 2017, law enforcement agencies raided at least 30 major militant dens Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Currently, the country is not facing any major militant threat as the militant groups, who once operated here, have lost their capacity to carry out fresh attacks

Militancy threats in Bangladesh have almost been brought under control following combined efforts by law enforcement agencies, civilians, and different organizations.

Currently, the country is not facing any major militant threat as the militant groups, who once operated here, have lost their capacity to carry out fresh attacks.

Law enforcement officials said the militants no longer have viable channels to procure financial and logistical support, as the law enforcement agencies have been maintaining vigilance.

However, the officials are still working closely to prevent the militants from regrouping and planning future attacks.       

They said the Holey Artisan attack, which took place on July 1, 2016, was a wake-up call for everyone. 

Five militants participated in the attack in the diplomatic zone of Dhaka. They murdered 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and shot dead two police officers. Bangladesh Army commandos stormed the restaurant the next morning, killed the terrorists, and rescued the hostages. 

Following the attack, the government made a strong effort to wipe out militancy from the country – and the outcome has been praised at home and abroad. 

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said the anti-militant drives have been praised worldwide. 

“At present, there is no major threat,” he told media recently.

To stop the rise of militancy, the law enforcement agencies are also working with the Bangladesh Bank to stop suspicious transactions which come from abroad.

The government is currently focusing more on the deradicalization process, rehabilitation, and counselling for the militants. 

New ways are being introduced to engage the youth in sports, culture, and other activities – to remove the possibility of them being radicalized.

In March, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared a fight against militancy, terrorism, and drug addiction in the country – through sports.

She said sports can help develop love youths’ love for the country and keep them away from extremism. 

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), in its latest statement, said in 2017, they arrested 486 people in 156 operations because of their involvement with militancy. A total of 21 militants were also killed in eight other operations.

“We should now put more effort into ensuring that nobody gets radicalized, and continue deradicalization, counselling, and rehabilitation of the militants,” RAB Director General (DG) Benazir Ahmed recently told the media.

After the Holey Artisan attack, law enforcement agencies launched an all-out effort and conducted at least 20 drives in Dhaka, Sylhet, Rajshahi, and Chittagong. 

According to police, at least 77 people died in those drives, while 12 alleged militants were killed in “shootouts.”

Of these, the two major drives saw the death of nine militants at Dhaka’s Kallyanpur area and death of one of the masterminds of the Holey Artisan attack –Tamim Chowdhury– in Narayanganj.

From 2016 to 2017, law enforcement agencies raided at least 30 major militant dens and put more than 2,000 suspected militants behind the bars.

Monirul Islam, chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, said militant recruiters turn people to radicalism by convincing them that 90% of Muslims support the activities in which they are involved. 

However, their misleading messages are exposed when people see them carrying out brutality in the name of religion. 

For example, the CTTC chief said the families of many militants did not even wish to take the bodies of their militant family members out of hatred for their acts.

He said along with the raids, social awareness programs have also stopped a lot of youths from joining militancy.

RAB and police officials said in the 90s, militants were financed through banks and NGOs, but now that has been stopped. 

The government has already shut down a number of NGOs for allegedly financing militants.    

The law enforcement agencies are also monitoring militants who are currently in jail to keep them from regrouping in prison. 

Additionally, the government has been pitched the idea that there be separate prisons for the accused militants.