Vol. 5 Num 522 Tue. November 15, 2005  
Front Page

JMB suicide bomber kills 2 judges
Wounded assassin held with bomb strapped to his thigh; leaflets seek Islamic judicial system

Outlawed Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has struck again, this time killing two senior assistant judges and wounding three people in a suicide bomb attack in Jhalakathi yesterday.

The JMB operatives launched two attacks on judges and courts last month and vowed no respite in their attempt to force the judges to deliver judgements based on Islamic laws and until Islamic rule is established in the country.

Police arrested the bomber, JMB cadre Iftekhar Hasan Al Mamun, 28, who claimed him Mamun Ali, a member of the JMB suicide squad, and seized an unexploded bomb strapped to one of his thighs along with 24 leaflets of the banned organisation.

The slain judges are Shaheed Sohel Ahmed, 35, senior assistant judge of Nalchhiti upazila, and Jagannath Pandey, 38, senior assistant judge of the Sadar upazila.

The injured are Badsha Miah, 45, a milk trader, Abdul Mannan, 40, a peon of Jhalakathi Judge's Court, and Lokman, 13, a school-goer. Mamun was also badly hurt.

The judges and the peon were driving to the court by an official microbus from the government staff quarters, some 400 yards off their office. Driver Sultan parked the vehicle on way to pick up Judge Abdul Awal when Judge Pandey asked Mannan to bring a file from his quarters.

The JMB man appeared from nowhere at 9:00am and tried to hand some leaflets over to the judges, who refused to oblige him.

The assassin hurled a bag at the microbus and it exploded inside on impact with a big bang. The explosion shook two to three kilometres area around and blew up the roof of the microbus, reducing it to metal rubble.

Judge Sohel Ahmed was killed on the spot while Judge Pandey died on way to Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital.

A nearby wall collapsed in the blast, which a witness described as similar to "the car bomb explosions in Iraq seen on TV".

Locals held Mamun immediately after the attack and turned him in to police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab).

The critically injured assassin and Badsha are receiving treatment at the hospital, while the other wounded were admitted to Jhalakathi General Hospital.

The JMB suicide bomber tried to detonate another bomb strapped to one of his thighs on way to the hospital, but the Rab and police foiled the attempt.

Mamun gave a confessional statement at the hospital before First Class Magistrate Munim Hossain in presence of police, Rab and journalists.

He hailed from Bashmari under Motihar Police Station in Rajshahi. He said his father Kamruzzaman is a night guard of a multi-storey house belonging to BNP lawmaker Nadim Mustafa in the city's Binodpur area.

The bomber said he joined the JMB in 2000 and was subsequently promoted as a member of the suicidal squad.

He was sent to the capital and admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital under Rab custody. Joint Interrogation Cell (JIC) will interrogate him soon.

The seized handwritten leaflets say, "We don't want Taguti [non-Islamic] law, let Qur'anic law be introduced. Law framed by humans cannot continue and only the laws of Allah will prevail."

Mamun further said he was under the supervision of Rajshahi JMB leader Mustafa and Abdur Rahman is their commander-in-chief.

He came to Jhalakathi from Rajshahi about two weeks ago and was received at the bus stand by local JMB leaders Newaz, Rahim, Karim and others.

They took him to Krishnakathi and showed him the spots of the planned bomb attack. Mamun said the attack was a suicide one and he knew that he might have been killed.

Police high officials and lawmakers visited the scene, met the families of the dead and visited the injured at the hospitals.

After the incident, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar, Inspector General of Police Abdul Quayum, Director General of Rapid Action Battalion MA Aziz Sarkar and local lawmaker Israt Jahan Elen Bhutto flew to the district by a chopper.

Proceedings of courts across the country were suspended and lawyers brought out processions in protest at the gruesome killing. Situation in all the southern districts is said to be tense.

Earlier on October 3 and October 18, the JMB launched two bomb attacks on the judiciary, leaving two dead and at least 39 including two judges injured.

The banned outfit carried out an attack on the courtrooms Chandpur, Laxmipur and Chittagong districts, killing the two and hurting 38 on October 3.

Militants hurled a bomb at the vehicle of Judge Biplop Goswami, leaving him injured in Sylhet on October 18.

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Pictures: 1. The mangled microbus after attack. 2. Two slain judges Jagannath Pandey and Sohel Ahmed. 3. Injured suicide bomber Mamun. 4. An unexploded bomb found strapped to the attacker. 5. JMB leaflet. PHOTO: STAR