Security forces detain 54 KNF members in Bandarban; intensify ops amid tension

In a significant development, members of the Bangladesh army and police in Bandarban have detained 54 individuals associated with the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) in two separate operations. Eighteen women are among those detained. Lalchiam Bom, an assistant cashier at Sonali Bank in Ruma upazila, was also apprehended during the raids and is currently being questioned. Reportedly, the law enforcement agencies seized seven firearms, ammunition, and KNF-related equipment during the course of the operations, highlighting the gravity of the situation.

Army forces led the operation on Monday afternoon, which targeted many villages, including Bathel Para in Ruma upazila, where a sizable stockpile of weapons and ammunition was found.

Three KNF militants were taken into custody in Reicha camp on Sunday night in a parallel police operation that also resulted in the arrest of the driver of the car that was used in the Thanchi heist. The army’s Zone Commander in Ruma Upazila, Lt Col KM Arafat Amin, affirmed the specifics of the operations.

The detainees from the police operation were identified as residents of Simtlangpi Para in Ruma upazila, with the arrested driver named Md Kofil Uddin Sagar, 28, hailing from Thanchi.

Additionally, Additional Superintendent of Police Raihan Kazemi disclosed that 49 individuals from Ruma, three from Bandarban, and one from Thanchi were detained and subsequently sent to the Bandarban district headquarters for further processing.

A coordinated army-led combing operation covering the upazilas of Ruma, Rowangchhari, and Thanchi has been underway since Sunday night in response to the worsening situation. Four Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) have been sent from Dhaka to reinforce security measures, and more security officers have been stationed in the area.

However, the closure of commercial and banking institutions and the stoppage of vehicle traffic in Ruma Upazila as a result of these heightened security measures have interfered with day-to-day operations. Because to the increased tension in the impacted upazilas, markets are shutting early.

In light of these developments, the district administration has instructed hospitals to remain on high alert and prepare to provide prompt medical assistance to patients and the injured. The situation remains fluid as security forces continue their relentless efforts to quell any potential threats posed by insurgent activities in the region. (This story has been published in the Dhaka Tribune)

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