Sound but no effect
Early yesterday, four villages in Bangladesh’s Kushtia district were cordoned off and residents were told to stay indoors. Those trying to get out of the cordon risked being shot at by the 2000 or so police and other troops who were involved in the operation. More troops were flown in from Dhaka on helicopters. It was a ‘record hunt‘ for Bangla Bhai and other leaders of the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The raid was called off at 5pm, because, well, Bangla Bhai could not be found. Ten suspects were arrested.
Even if the Bangladeshi government had compelling intelligence about Bangla Bhai’s whereabouts to warrant an operation to capture him, the manner in which the operation was executed had a fair chance of allowing him to escape. Operations involving the movement of thousands of troops cannot be conducted with a level of secrecy and surprise that is required to capture a small group of individuals.
However, if the government’s intention was to draw public attention and create ‘the talk of the country’, then the operation must count as a reasonable success. Already facing charges of having largely ignored the growth of jihadi terrorism in the country during its term, the raid provides the Khaleda Zia government with some useful talking points. With Bangladesh’s political parties already (and forever) in election mode, it is not unreasonable to suspect that this raid was more part of an election campaign, rather one against terrorists.
Sources in local law enforcement agencies said the information of the operation was leaked but their high-ups ruled out the possibility.
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar told reporters yesterday there was “enough time” for anyone to flee before the fully-fledged operation started… But the JMB ‘top brass’ had enough time to escape as primarily the number of force was inadequate to seal off the entire area, the minister added.[Daily Star]