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55 KNF men nabbed in joint operation

4 APCs added to the drive

Published : 08 Apr 2024 10:44 PM | Updated : 15 Apr 2024 12:16 PM
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The joint forces arrested 55 people, mostly members of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), and recovered seven firearms from different places in Bandarban district in the last two days.

In a day-long operation on Monday, a total of 49 people, including 18 women were arrested from Ruma upazila for their alleged link to KNF, an armed terrorist group active in Bandarban.

Additional Superintendent of Police (administration and finance) Bandarban Hossain Md Raihan Kazemi confirmed the matter on Monday night. 

 “The joint forces conducted the drive at Bethelpara in Ruma upazila and arrested 49 people. Later, in the evening, they were brought to the Bandarban Sadar police station in three buses,” police said. Of the arrested, four were identified as Van Nun Nuam Bawm, a resident of Roangchhari Sadar Upazila, Zeminewe Bawm and his sister Ame Lancheo Bawm of Singthalangi Para under Thanchi Sadar Upazila and jeep driver Kafil Uddin of T&T Para under Thanchi Upazila Sadar.

Meanwhile, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) have been added to the ongoing operation of the joint forces to fight against the terrorist activities of Kuki-Chin. 

Police conducted a special drive in T&T Para around 5:40pm on Sunday. During the drive, they seized a white Volvo jeep used for the bank robbery and arrested jeep driver Kafil, says a press a press release issued by Superintendent of Police (SP) of Bandarban Saikat Shaheen.

 Police conducted another raid on Reicha check post in Bandarban Sadar around 10:55pm and arrested three others.

Sources at the Bandarban police said that Kafil was the driver of a white Volvo jeep for Thanchi bank robberies. He has been taken to court following his arrest.

The arrestees are the members of Kuki-Chin National Front or KNF, the police said in a statement. They are allegedly involved in the Thanchi bank robbery.

 SP Saikat Shaheen said four armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were brought to Ruma and Thanchi on Monday morning as part of the operations in the upazilas. Considering the situation, the number of APCs may be increased, he added.

Meanwhile, the joint forces arrested two more KNF members during the operation on Monday. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) directorate confirmed the matter.

According to ISPR, two KNF members were arrested in Bethelpara of Ruma Upazila on Monday during a joint operation. Seven locally made guns, 20 rounds of bullets, laptops, uniforms and boots were also recovered during the drive.

On Monday, the KNF issued an indefinite ban on all types of vehicular movement in the areas of Ruma, Thanchi, and Rowangchhari in Bandarban starting at 5:00pm.

Zakir Hossain, the line man of Ruma Bus Owners Association, said since Monday morning, movement of public transport and other vehicles remains suspended. Locals are not leaving their homes without emergencies.

Local resident Anupam said people of Thanchi area are still in grip of fear following the bank robbery and gunfight. Apart from this, barricades have been up by placing sacks to control the movement of vehicles in Bazar Bridge area.

On April 2, over 100 armed terrorists attacked the Sonali Bank branch in Ruma Upazila’s Sadar area. They also abducted the branch’s manager, Nezam Uddin.

The following day, a group of armed robbers looted the Thanchi branches of the Sonali Bank and Krishi Bank. They looted Tk 17.50 lakh from two banks. 

The Kuki-Chin National Front, also known as Bawm Party, is allegedly involved in the attacks.

On Thursday night, Ruma’s Sonali Bank Manager Nezam Uddin was rescued by the members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). 

Eight cases have been filed over the bank robbery and attacks.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the chief of the armed forces to conduct joint operation against the KNF, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told the media on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Rapid Action Battalion arrested an individual named Cheosim Bawm. The RAB said Cheosim is the chief coordinator and chief advisor of the KNF.

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