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Dhaka Tribune

2 militants arrested after gunfight with RAB in Rohingya camp

The gunfight began when RAB conducted a drive to arrest a top leader of Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya

Update : 23 Jan 2023, 08:20 PM

The Rapid Action Battalion on Monday arrested two members of militant group Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya after a reported gunfight in Cox's Bazar. 

The arrestees are the head of the military wing of the outfit, Ranbir, and his associate Bashar, RAB-15 Additional Superintendent of Police Abu Salam Chowdhury told Dhaka Tribune.

RAB also seized domestic and foreign arms and ammunition during the raid. 

The gunfight was reported from the Rohingya camp 7 under Ukhiya upazila of Cox's Bazar on Monday morning.

It began when RAB was conducting a drive to arrest the wanted leaders of the Jama'atul Ansar. The militant members fired at RAB when they sensed their presence in the camp, said officials. 

Why militant groups opt for hilly areas

In recent months, the law enforcement agencies have arrested dozens of members of a newly-floated militant outfit, Jama'atul Ansar Fil Sharqiya, who had been attending training sessions in the hilly areas of Bandarban.

Most of the arrestees include youths, coming from different parts of the country in the name of “Hijrat”. 

During the raids, the law enforcers also learned about the involvement of several other groups, mainly the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), a separatist group based in the Chittagong Hill Tracts with links to like-minded outfits in Mizoram of India and Rakhine province of Myanmar.

The other armed groups having a presence in the hilly areas include the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), Arakan Army, and Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). According to the law enforcers, armed group members cross the borders for training, coordination, and to avoid arrest after being chased by law enforcers.

Though militancy is not new in Bangladesh, it is for the first time that so many armed militants are found active in the region close to the border. Their activities have raised concerns among locals as well as the law enforcement agencies. 

RAB thinks the militants now prefer to operate in the hills near the borders since the common people are aware of the dangers of militant activities that have claimed the lives of hundreds of people in the last three decades.

But these hideouts are no longer safe for them due to the continuous operations of the law enforcers since September last year when around 50 militants were nabbed.

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