Four Islamist extremists surrender after shootout in Bangladesh

Islamist extremists
Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel detain suspected Islamist extremists.

Four suspected Islamist extremists surrendered Sunday (16) after a night-long standoff with Bangladeshi police in which they detonated explosives and opened fire outside the capital Dhaka, an official said.

Police said the armed militants belonged to a new faction of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an outlawed group blamed for a wave of attacks including the murder of 18 foreigners at a cafe in Dhaka last July.

Acting on a tip-off Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion surrounded a building in the garment district of Ashulia, around 25 kilometres (18 miles) west of Dhaka, just after midnight, RAB spokesman Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan said.

“They rented the house posing as garment workers two months ago. When we raided the place, they fired back with live rounds and exploded IED (improvised explosive devices),” he said.

No casualties were reported.

Ashulia is home to hundreds of garment factories turning out clothes for top European and American brands.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the cafe attack on July 1 last year.

But the government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina has denied foreign militant groups have a foothold in Bangladesh, blaming homegrown outfit JMB for that assault and many others.

Bangladesh has been reeling from a spate of extremist violence in recent years, with dozens of foreigners, secular writers, atheist activists and members of religious minorities killed.

Since the cafe attack, security forces have gunned down nearly 70 Islamist extremists across the country and rounded up scores more.