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2 women surrender after 39 hours
Two female militant suspects holed up in a building at Narsingdi's Gangpar surrendered yesterday after nine hours of negotiations with law enforcers and mediators.
Khadija Parveen Meghna, 24, and Israt Jahan Mou, 20, came out of the sixth-floor flat around 1:30pm ending a standoff that began at 10:00pm Monday when law enforcers cordoned off the seven-storey building.
The two had been arrested a couple of years ago in connection with militancy and were released on bail earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Monirul Islam, chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, briefing reporters on the spot around 2:45pm yesterday said during an operation on Tuesday at another alleged militants' den in nearby Shaikerchar area, Òneo-JMBÓ suspects Abu Abdullah al Bangali, 26, and his wife Aklima Akhter Moni were killed.
CTTC officials said Abdullah was the media wing head and a key leader of neo-JMB.
On August 15, 2016, members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested Aklima, Khadija, and Israt -- all then fourth-year students of pharmacy at a private university -- at Signboard in Gazipur and Mirpur in Dhaka for their alleged link with Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Rab had then claimed that they were members of the banned Islamist outfit's female unit. It said they were spreading extremist ideologies among women in the name of teaching Arabic and that their objective was to strengthen the female unit and collect funds for militant activities.
Officials of the CTTC said about six to seven months ago the three got out of jail on bail but fled their homes and got involved in militancy again.
Based on intelligence that some neo-JMB suspects gathered in two hideouts in Shaikerchar and Gangpar areas to attend the wedding of a female militant, law enforcers cordoned off the hideouts around 10:00pm Monday.
Police said on Monday night Israt was supposed to get married over the internet to a man living abroad.
Since Tuesday afternoon, the CTTC unit members had been asking the suspects in the Shaikerchar den to surrender. They eventually stormed the den during which Abdullah and Aklima were killed.
Meanwhile, as six hours of negotiations with the two female militant suspects at the Gangpar den failed to yield results on Tuesday, the law enforcers kept the building cordoned off for the night.
Around 11:00am yesterday police again started negotiations with the help of a hostage negotiations expert. At one stage, Khadija's husband appeared at the scene and he too tried to persuade them to surrender.
Initially, they refused to surrender saying that if they did, they would be killed.
Finally, there was a breakthrough at 1:30pm when the two females stepped out of the den with their hands raised, Rahmatullah Chowdhury, additional deputy commissioner of the CTTC's bomb disposal unit, said.
It is a big success. We have managed to bring them out without hurting anyone or any collateral damage, he said, adding that the women had four bombs with them which could have caused serious damage and injuries.
Terming the surrenders rare, Monirul said the suspects blasted bombs in the morning but agreed to surrender around noon.
Law enforcers found wedding dresses and kitchen utensils inside the two-room flat they rented on October 5.