Militants strike again on courts |
2 killed in Laxmipur, Chandpur; Ctg judge escape narrowly as bombs hurled on him did not burst; 38 including judge, cop wounded; JMB leaflet found; 10 held
Yet another incident of five serial bomb blasts at courts in Chandpur, Laxmipur and Chittagong yesterday left two people killed and 38 others, including a district judge and a policeman, injured, stoking fears that have loomed over the country since the August 17 attacks.
Some hand-written leaflets of the Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), calling for establishing Islamic rule in the country, were found at the Chandpur blast site.
Two bombers held from the Chandpur blast site and one from Laxmipur said JMB, which is blamed for the August 17 attacks across the country, assigned them to carry out the bombings.
They said the militant organisation had plans to turn public attention to its leaflets by blasting bombs in courtrooms.
In Chittagong, the attack took place in the courtroom soon after a JMB cadre linked to the August 17 incident was produced in court.
People present in the courtroom caught three suspects while police later arrested three others.
Police recovered two unexploded bombs after the blasts, which took place within 15 minutes starting from 11:45am, forcing immediate closure of court proceedings.
The bombers set the bombs inside thick books and hurled them while proceedings were going on, a few hours into Sunday night's explosion in Brahmanbaria and Satkhira, where two people were killed.
Abul Hashem Bakaul, 55, a witness in a case, and Mujibul Huq, 70, died in Chandpur and Laxmipur.
Police were put on high alert and security was beefed up by deploying additional forces at key installations across the country, especially Supreme Courts, lower courts, shopping complexes, bus, rail and launch stations, airports, foreign missions, commercial buildings and banks.
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar told journalists that the arrest of several suspects from the blast sites "has been possible as police and people were alert." Babar was hurriedly coming out of a meeting on mobile courts at his ministry yesterday morning on reports of the blasts.
He, however, could not give details, saying he had just received the information.
Two bombs went off one after another with big bangs on the ground floor of the district joint and sessions judge's court building at around noon.
While the audience-packed court of Joint Assistant Judge Abu Sufian was recording statements of witnesses of a case, the attackers threw a packet containing a book-like object on the judge's desk through a window.
"The bomb fell on the floor and exploded with a big bang," said a witness.
Two minutes later, the second bomb went off on the veranda, rocking the whole area.
One Mujibul Haq of Ababil village of Raipur upazila died on the spot. Thirty other people were injured in the two blasts.
Of them, 10, including Judge Abu Sufian, court official Shafiq Ullah and parties of different cases--Delwar Hossain, Shahana Akhter, Idris Ali, Ali Ahmad, Tuka Mia and Shaheda Begum--were admitted to Laxmipur Sadar Hospital.
Meantime, injured Idris caught one young bomber named Masum when he was fleeing the scene and handed him over to police.
Laxmipur Superintendent of Police (SP) Fazlur Rahman said Masum introduced himself as a JMB activist.
"However, he [Masum] once said he is Mamun from Chandpur but later claimed his name is Masum and he is from Narayanganj," said the SP, adding police were verifying his information.
Narayanganj police later confirmed that Masum, son of Mofazzal Hossain, hails from Alinagar village of Bandar upazila in the district.
A bomb went off in the courtroom of First Sub-Judge Dipen Dewan on the first floor of the Judge's Court at around noon.
While running down the stairs after the blast, two bombers blasted another bomb to clear their way out. But lawyers, police and people present in the area caught them a few yards.
Abul Hashem Bakaul, who was sitting in the courtroom, died on the spot.
Three persons, including a Sub-Judge Dipen Dewan and Advocate Kazi Mozammel Hossain, were found lying injured under thick cloud of smoke.
The two bombers were identified as Sohrab Hossain alias Belal, 23, of Kongshail village under Kachua upazila of Chandpur, and Abul Kalam, 22, of Chandina upazila of Comilla.
Locals also caught an elderly person named Jinnat Ali and handed him over to police.
During interrogation, Belal, a madrasa student, introduced himself as a JMB activist while Kalam said the JMB hired him for blasting the bomb.
Police recovered 10-12 handwritten leaflets from the spot after the explosion.
The leaflets bore writings in Bengali --"Establish Islamic rule" and "Introduce Islamic rule" followed by "Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh". The leaflets also had some writings in Arabic.
"The bombers arrived in Chandpur Sunday evening and received instructions on mobile phones," Chandpur SP BM Harunur Rashid said quoting the confessions of the arrestees.
Some people asked them to meet at a place at 10:00am yesterday and handed them a packet containing the bombs and leaflets. They were told that people will get the leaflets after the bombs blast, the SP said.
"When asked who gave them the bombs, at first they mentioned one Galib but later said one Hasan gave them those. They failed to give the address of the person but said they will recognise him if they see him again," Harunur Rashid said.
"They said they blasted the bombs as part of jihad but also admitted they were paid Tk 40 each," Rashid added.
One Laltu, 18, hurled a bomb kept inside a thick and hollow HSC Test Paper of 2003, targeting Second Joint District Session Judge Dilzer Hossain at 11:45am.
However, the bomb did not reach its target and hit the judge's desk, breaking the table-glass.
As the bomb did not explode, Laltu tried to hurl a second bomb kept inside a geometry box while fleeing.
The crowd inside the courtroom, however, caught Laltu and one Shahadat Hossain, 25, who tried to help Laltu escape.
Both Shahadat, son of Ibrahim Hossain of Dhangarh at Haripur, and Laltu, son of Maqbul Hossain of Chunaiya intersection at Sepurikura, hail from Thakurgaon.
The crowd handed the two over to police after beating them up.
In another incident, Metropolitan Magistrate MM Akram Hossain was conducting a case when one Dulal Chowdhury, 28, hurled a bomb kept inside a thick and hollow accounting book at 11:55am.
The bomb hit the magistrate in the hand and dropped on the floor.
A man who was present in the courtroom picked it up and put in a bucket of water.
Magistrate Akram earlier recorded confessional statements of five August 17 suspects--militant leader Asadullah Galib's nephew Sadrul Alam, Arshadul Alam, Jahangir Alam, Abdus Sattar Mollah and Ahmed Mia.
While fleeing, Dulal hurled another bomb kept inside a geometry box on the corridor just in front of the courtroom.
The bomb exploded with a big bang and injured a clerk named Abdul Wadood.
People caught Dulal, son of Shafiqur Rahman of West Baroipara in Patiya upazila in Chittagong.
An army team of explosive experts went to the spots to neutralise the unexploded bombs and to carry out a sweeping operation in and around the court building premises at around 2:30pm.
During primary interrogation, Laltu told police he reached Chittagong by train at 7:30am on Sunday while Shahadat said he boarded a bus from Gabtoli, Dhaka, and got down at the GEC intersection in the port city a few hours before the incident.
Dulal along with several other youths were staying at a house rented on October 1 on Chaitanya Lane under Kotwali thana.
Raiding the house, police later arrested Omar Faruq and Suman Sarker and another suspect.
Police were interrogating all the six at the Detective Branch (DB) office in Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) headquarters.
Two bombs exploded at a fish market in the town at 9:00pm Sunday night, leaving Shuk Chand, 60, an employee of an ice depot, badly injured.
Jano Juddha, a faction of the Purbo Banglar Communist Party, claimed responsibility for the blast, but none was arrested as of yesterday afternoon.