Gulshan Café massacre survivors still cannot forget the horror of that night
by Sumon Corraya

On 1st July 2016, Islamist gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Cafe in Dhaka. Twenty people died, mostly foreigners. Yesterday the restaurant reopened to remember the victims of the massacre. Some survivors retold what happened during those hours. At a press conference, police announced the eradication of the terrorist cell involved. Six terrorists are in custody and two are still on the run.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Survivors of the Holey Artisan Café attack yesterday marked the second anniversary of the country's worst terrorist incident in Dhaka.

Some 35 people were in the restaurant that day, mostly foreigners. Islamist militants took them hostage and then went on a killing spree. Twenty people died.

Yesterday the Holey Artisan Cafe was reopened to the public to remember the victims of the terrorists. Some of those present who managed to escape shared their experience.

Shishir Bairague was assistant cook at the Holey Artisan Café. "I still cannot forget that day’s incident. I heard shots, shouts, saw blood and bodies. In all my life I will not be able to forget what happened.”

He and other co-workers were able to flee the café. He has a wife and a nine-year-old daughter and is struggling to survive in Dhaka as a street vendor.

Chef Dalwar Hossain was in the kitchen. Since then, he has “nightmares. I see killing, crying. Now I'm better, my relatives, family, friends have helped me overcome the trauma, but I still cannot forget.”

During the attack, two policemen lost their lives when they tried to rescue the hostages.

"That day I thought that some robber had entered the Holey Artisan Café, I had no idea that there were militants in the café,” said Abdul Ahad, a member of the Gulshan police station who was wounded. “We were trying to catch them, but I was injured by a grenade. Two of my colleagues died.”

“We heard the sound of shooting. I've been in this service for many years, but I've never seen this kind of incident. I want to forget that day. We all want our country to be free from extremism.”

Yesterday, police held a press conference on the Gulshan Café attack, noting that 21 militants were involved. Six were captured and will stand trial, whilst two are still on the run. All the others, including the head of the cell, were killed in police operations.