02/24/2014, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Three Islamic terrorists escape following attack against police van

by Sumon Corraya
An outlawed Islamist group, the Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, attacked a police van carrying some of their jailed leaders. A police constable and an escaped prisoner died in the subsequent gunfight. The other two are still at large. The country is now under high alert.

Mymensingh (AsiaNews) - Members of an Islamist group, the Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), attacked a police van carrying three members of the outlawed organisation, two of whom are on death row.

The incident, which occurred yesterday in Trishal (Mymensingh), a city on the Brahmaputra River, was worthy of a movie with gunfire, escape and a police chase. A police constable and one of the three prisoners died in the clash.

Guards were taking the prisoners from Kashimpur Central Jail (Gazipur) to a courthouse in Mymensingh for a hearing.

The detainees are all JMB leaders: Salauddin Salehin, AKA Sunny, 38; Raqibul Hasan, AKA Mahmoud Hafez, 35; and Jahidul Islam, AKA Bomaru Mizan, 35.

The first two are on death row, whilst the third is serving a life sentence.

Mahmud was found and killed in a gunfight with police five hours after the escape in which Constable Atiqul Islam, 30, was killed.

Police and the Interior Ministry set up two task forces in order to find the fugitives.

Meanwhile, two police officers in Gazipur were punished for negligence.

All of the country's 68 prisons have increased security.

Despite criticism from some analysts who accuse the government of failing to guarantee public order, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker said, "the situation is under control."

Founded in 1998, the JMB carried out a series of attacks in 2005 in 63 districts across the country.

That year, the government banned the group. More than 2,500 JMB members are currently in Bangladeshi prisons.

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