‘Kafela Operatives’: This time, 17 suspects held by locals
Locals yesterday apprehended 17 people from Karmarha union of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar on suspicion of their involvement with a new militant outfit called "Imam Mahmuder Kafela".
They were later handed over to the counter-terrorism police.
Police said the detainees include Sohel Tanjim, a physician, but did not disclose the identity of the rest.
Sohel's wife was among the 10 arrested from Moulvibazar in a raid on a suspected militant hideout on Saturday.
On news that locals captured the 17 and kept them in the Union Council office, a team of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police went to Moulvibazar to take them into their custody.
The CTTC team reached the spot around 7:30pm and interrogated the suspects for about an hour.
In a press briefing after the interrogation, CTTC chief Asaduzzaman said they have information about another hideout in the area.
"We will go to the hideouat tomorrow [today]. We will take you [journalists] with us. We will disclose more details tomorrow [today]," he said.
Asked about the identities of the detainees, he said there is a doctor and two students who have studied in a foreign university. He declined to disclose any further about the suspects, citing ongoing investigation.
After Saturday's raid on the Kulaura "hideout," locals were already on the lookout for suspected strangers in the area.
Police and locals said that when a large group of people hired five autorickshaws from Karmadha Union, the drivers grew suspicious. So, instead of taking them to their destination, the drivers took them directly to the union council, where locals apprehended them and confined them to the office.
Two autorickshaw drivers -- Rabiullah and Abdul Quddus -- told The Daily Star that some strangers boarded their vehicles, saying they were going on a picnic in Moulvibazar. One of them identified himself as a doctor.
This triggered suspicion in them, and all the five autorickshaw drivers took them to the union council office instead of Moulvibazar.
Muhibul Islam Azad, chairman of Karmadha UP, said the suspects bought 50 decimals of land in Purbo Tattiuli area of Karmadha union and had settled there around two months ago.
"We were conducting our own surveillance since the police drive on Saturday. We caught them when they came out of their hideout to escape," he said.
Earlier in three separate drives, CTTC arrested at least 21 members of the new militant outfits, police officials said, adding that the suspects had 11 children with them.