Army man killed in Kuki-Chin National Front ambush

Staff Correspondent

May 21st, 2024 | 03:48:13 PM

At least one army corporal was killed and two others, including a junior commissioned officer, were severely injured in an ambush allegedly carried out by ethnic armed group Kuki-Chin National Front in a remote Bandarban area on Friday afternoon.

The police confirmed the death of Corporal Mohammad Rafik and said that JCO warrant officer Idrish Ali and soldier Milon were flown to the Combined Military Hospitals in Chattogram.

Officials in Dhaka and Chittagong Hill Tracts said that the incident took place near a passenger shed on the street near Paliprangsha Para Army camp at about 4:20pm.

The Inter Services Public Relation directorate made no comment or statement until 9:30pm over the causalities.

Ruma police officer-in-charge Md Shahjahan said that they learned that the KNF ambushed the army patrol in the afternoon, resulting in the causalities.  

None, however, claimed responsibility of the attack.

The incident took place a day after a Bandarban court on Thursday remanded 52 suspected KNF members and sympathisers in police custody for interrogation for two days in the case filed over the abduction of Sonali Bank manager Nezam Uddin from a mosque at Ruma on April 2 in an attempt to loot the bank vault.

The court also allowed the investigators to interrogate a pregnant female suspect at jail gate.

On April 2, the KNF launched an attack to loot Tk 1.5 crore from the vault of Sonali Bank’s Ruma upazila branch and abducted the branch manager Nezam Uddin in the aftermath of their failure to loot the cash. They, however, looted at least 14 firearms and over 400 bullets, injuring members of law enforcement agencies.

Later on, on April 3, the KNF also looted Tk 17 lakh in cash from the Sonali Bank and Krishi Bank branches in Thanchi upazila of Bandarban.

The security forces have so far arrested 58 people in their joint operation in connection with the incidents. The police have separately arrested 14 others.

Police officials in Bandarban said that a total of nine cases were filed with the Ruma and Thanchi police following the robberies, arms looting, and abduction in April 2–3.

KNF media wing Colonel Solomon in their unverified social media page said on Friday that so far none of their armed members have been arrested by joint forces. It also claimed some innocent people who have no link to the KNF were arrested.

Those arrested people include college and university students, minors, pregnant women and breastfeeding women, government and private sector employees, farmers and religious leaders.

At least five soldiers and several other civilians have also been killed in the first six months of 2023, leading the government to initiate peace talks with the KNF.

First peace dialogues between the KNF and a delegation of the Bangladesh government were held at a remote village in Ruma upazila early November 2023, following a series of virtual meetings.

On March 12, 2023, the army’s master warrant officer, Nazim Uddin, was shot dead and two others were injured after the KNF allegedly ambushed an army patrol in a remote area of Rawangchari upazila in Bandarban.

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