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In Bangladesh 3 Bank robberies in Bandarban in 16 hours;

It was around 12:30pm. Bandarban’s of Bangladesh Hill Tracts Thanchi Bazar was abuzz with people as it was the weekly market  yesterday. Out of nowhere, three human hauliers arrived there carrying dozens of armed men clad in tactical gear. There, they joined an armed group that was already in the market area, according to witnesses.Divided in two groups, the armed men stormed two branches of Sonali Bank and Krishi Bank, located within about 10 feet, near Thanchi High School, brandishing weapons and asking people not to move.

Inside the banks, some of the gang members started looking for the managers, while others started looting money from the cash counters. Within 20 minutes or so, they made off with around Tk 17 lakh from the two banks, according to officials and customers.

The daring robbery took place less than 16 hours after a similar incident at the Sonali Bank branch in Ruma, also in Bandarban, about 100km from Thanchi. Although no money was reported being looted from that branch, the attackers kidnapped the branch manager, who remains missing since. Home Minister of Bangladesh said Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), an armed group in the Hill Tracts, was involved in the robberies.

“Kuki Chin was involved in the bank robbery and firearms looting. They also hit police constables, ansar members and security personnel of the bank,” he told journalists at his ministry office in Dhaka yesterday.

More detailed information about the robbers is not yet available, he said.


The two branches of Sonali and Krishi banks are located at the heart of Thanchi upazila, and both police and BGB have camps within 100 meters of the two banks in Thanchi Bazar. The area is almost always crowded as parking areas for CNG-run autorickshaws, human hauliers and bikes are also located there.

Hai Mong Marma, a teacher at Thanchi Govt Primary School, was inside the Sonali Bank when the robbery happened.

“Some 15 people carrying arms barged into the bank and asked everyone to put their hands up at gunpoint while they emptied the cash counter and stuffed the money in sacks,” he said.

He added that the branches will reopen once normalcy returned.

“We have learned that the group looted Tk 15 lakh from Sonali Bank and Tk 2 lakh from Krishi Bank,” said Thanchi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Mamun.

The robbers could not break open the vaults, he added.

He said they apprehend that yesterday’s robbery was committed by the same group that attacked the Sonali Bank branch in Ruma the previous day.

Bandarban Deputy Commissioner  said they are working to rescue the abducted Sonali Bank manager alive and maintain law and order in the area.

“The operation against the group is ongoing, and BGB and police are working there,” he added.

Inspector General of Police Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun said tough actions will be taken against those involved in the robberies.


Earlier around 8:30pm on Tuesday, armed men stormed the Ruma Upazila Parishad complex and took 14 weapons, including two light machine guns, of security personnel but failed to take any money from the Sonali Bank branch there, investigators said.

Two teams of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar went to Ruma yesterday and collected evidence.

They opened the bank vault and found Tk 1.59 crore in it.

Chattogram Zone Special Superintendent of Police said no money was looted.

Sources in law enforcement agencies said the gunmen took two light machine guns with 60 bullets, eight rifles with 320 bullets, and four shotguns with 35 cartridges.

Assistant Sub-Inspector Mamunur Rahman and Constable Touhidul Islam were injured when the armed men attacked them to get the machine guns.

The home minister said the group had snapped the power line before entering the upazila complex.

He added that KNF colluded with militants and arranged the training for the armed groups.”They had been neutralized through army and Rab operations, but they have been reasserting their strength in different ways recently,” he said.

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