Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested seven militants and three separatists conducting drives at different places in the hill forests of Bandarban and Rangamati.
During the raid, 9 SBBL guns, 50 rounds of bullet, 62 cartridge cases, six ID boms and 10 maps were seized, RAB said.
The main purpose of the drives by the elite force was to capture those who are taking shelter and taking training there after tracing their location, commander Khandker Al Moin, director of RAB’s Legal and Media Wing said while addressing a briefing in Bandarban on Friday afternoon.
The RAB spokesman said the arrested included seven members of newly launched militant outfit Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya and three members of the armed separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) from Bandarban and Rangamati.
They were arrested on Thursday night, said Khandker Al Moin. RAB started their drives in these areas on October 9.
The arrested were identified as Sayed Maruf Ahmed Manik, 31, of Sunamganj, Imran Hossain Shaon, 31, of Pirojpur, Kawsar Shishir, 46, of Jhenaidah, Jahangir Ahmed Jonu, 27, of Sylhet, Md Ibrahim Ali, 19, of Barishal, Abu Bakar Siddique Bappi, 23, of Sylhet, Rofu Mia, 26, of Sunamganj, and the members of the separatist group Jouthang Sang Bom, 19, Stephen Bom, 19, and Mal Som Bom, 20, of Bandarban.
“The arrested persons confessed that they had an agreement with a separatist group (KNF) to provide them shelter and training in exchange for money,” said the RAB official.
In 2021, the Amir of Jamatul Ansar fil Hindal Sharqiya had an agreement with the CHT-based armed group KNF regarding militant training in the area till next year. As per the agreement, Tk 3 lakh per month and food expenses of all KNF members were to be borne, according to the briefing.
“In this regard, details can be known after interrogating the three of the separatist group,” said Commander Moin.
“We are conducting drives through the remote hilly areas (mostly 2,500 feet high) and deep forests where they (militants) are hiding. They are also changing their location, sensing our presence,” he said.
More than 50 militants were being trained at the militant camps in the CHT area, he added.
The RAB official also referred to the recent cases of some young men missing from their homes and most of those still missing are hiding in these dense remote areas.
He said there is no incident of any militant or separatist being injured during the drives. The law enforcers involved in the operation were also safe.
Regarding the tourist ban in Bandarban, the RAB commander said local administration has imposed a temporary restriction on visitors in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas from October 18 morning as a security operation was going on. “They will lift the ban once our operation is over here.”
He said the separatist groups who are assisting the militants will be brought under justice.