Sohel Tanjim, a physician of a private medical college hospital in Sirajganj, had been missing along with his wife Mayesha Islam since 26 July. Their family lodged a general diary with the local police station, seeking assistance to trace them.
The police arrested Mayesha from a militant den in a deserted area of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar on Saturday, but her husband Sohel managed to escape.
The counter terrorism and transnational crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) carried out the raid and arrested 10 militants from the hideout.
The local policemen initially cordoned off the residence in the East Tatriuli village in Karmadha union of Kulaura upazila on Friday night. Later, a police team of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit under the CTTC went there on Saturday morning and carried out the operation. The arrestees include four males and six females.
While talking to Prothom Alo, the CTTC chief, Asaduzzaman, said there is a physician’s wife among the arrestees. Sohel Tanjim is the physician of a private hospital in Sirajganj.
He was present on the spot, but managed to flee sensing the raid, he added.
After they went missing, Sohel's father Helaluddin lodged a general diary with the Enayetpur police station in Sirajganj on 31 July. Contacted, the father said he has no idea about the duo’s involvement with any militant outfit.
The CTTC chief further said a new militant organisation – Imam Mahmuder Kafela – set up the hideout in the deserted area two months ago and were preparing to train their members. They amassed explosives, training materials, and daily necessities there.
During the operation, the police recovered explosives weighing 3 kg, 50 pieces of detonator, a cache of books, Tk 361,000 in cash, as well as training equipment like boots and boxing bags, he added.
According to Asaduzzaman, the arrests were made without any use of excessive force. The organisation is a completely new militant outfit, beyond the listed ones. The operation was carried out as per information gleaned from another member who was arrested in Dhaka recently.
Apart from arrested ones, the police have identified some other militants, including their leader, who had a regular commute to the hideout.
The arrestees are Rafiqul Islam from Satkhira, Hafiz Ullah from Kishoreganj, Khairul Islam from Narayanganj, and Shariful Islam from Tangail. Except for their wives, there were two other women in the hideout.
It was a deserted hilly area of the village where the hideout was setup. The militants bought 50 decimals of land from Rafique Miya, a resident of the locality, for Tk 700,000 around two months ago.
The chairman of Karmadha union parishad, Muhibul Islam said they were largely unaware of the militant activities transpiring in the area, as the arrestees presented themselves as displaced due to river erosion and took refuge there.