‘Govt sees Bandarban incidents as warning’, says Home Minister

STAFF CORRESPONDENT

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has expressed the government’s belief that the recent incidents of bank robbery, arms looting, and kidnapping in Bandarban hill districts are “precursors to a more significant event.” He vowed to suppress the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNAF) separatist group.

“Those behind these incidents will face severe punishment,” the Home Minister told reporters at the Home Ministry on Thursday. He emphasized the government’s commitment to taking strict action against KNAF in line with the Prime Minister’s directives.

Kamal stated that the government is not taking these incidents lightly. Investigations are ongoing to determine the motive and possible connections to larger plans.

On Tuesday night, armed assailants attacked a Sonali Bank branch in Ruma Upazila, taking 14 firearms and abducting the bank manager. A similar incident occurred in Thanchi Upazila on Wednesday afternoon, with KNF identified as the group responsible.

KNAF seeks to establish an autonomous region named ‘Kuki-Chin State,’ excluding existing communities like the Chakma, Marma, and Tripura.

Law enforcement previously reported that the terrorist organization Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharkiyya received training from KNF. Arrests were made during operations conducted against both groups last year.

A ‘Peace Establishment’ committee was formed in May last year to reintegrate KNAF, but its efforts have been suspended due to KNF’s continued armed activities.

The Home Minister asserted that the government will not tolerate such acts and is committed to maintaining order. He denied any need for a state of emergency.

“We are gathering information and will take all necessary actions. No one involved will be spared,” he declared. Kamal affirmed the intelligence agencies’ ongoing efforts in cooperation with the Home Ministry.

Despite concerns, the Home Minister stated there is no current intelligence suggesting a sabotage threat related to Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year) celebrations.

While the exact reasons behind the recent attacks remain under investigation, the Home Minister emphasized that those responsible will be brought to justice.

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