Four people—including the house owner and the mosque caretaker—are in police custody
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has said that the two men — who were killed in a blast at a suspected militant den in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur — had posed as rickshaw-van pullers to rent a room in the tin-shed house raided by the force in Bosila area.
During the raid at the house, RAB 2 Company Commander Mohiuddin Faruki on Monday afternoon told Dhaka Tribune: “The house’s caretaker told us that the pair rented a room in the house as van pullers one and a half months ago.”
He added: “According to caretaker Sohag, the two, aged between 23 and 25, had identified themselves as Sumon and Sujon when they rented the small room for Tk1,500 a month in the house, which also has a mosque.
“However, Sohag did not bother to get detailed information about their identities.”
Even though Sumon and Sujon, who were described as militants by RAB chief Benazir Ahmed, claimed to be rickshaw-van pullers, none of their neighbours or locals ever saw them with their vehicles.
According to locals, the large tin-shed house, situated on Road No 8 at Bosila Metro Housing, had a newly built mosque on one side and three rooms on the other.
They said Sohag lived in two of the rooms with his wife and two children, while the mosque’s imam, Yusuf, lived in another room. However, no one could identify the tenants of the other rooms.
They said the owner of the house is one Abdul Wahab, who is in the construction material and cable business.
He recently evicted the tenants of one of the rooms and turned it into a mosque, following a BIWTA eviction drive at Bosila. Yusuf was appointed as the imam soon after.
When asked, Dhaka North City Corporation Ward No 33 Councillor Tarequzzaman Razib, who was at the scene to assist the law enforcement officials and local administration, could not say whether the land, where the tin-shed house is built, is government property.
“I also do not know Wahab, who built these rooms here,” he added.
Md Mithu, who lives in a nearby building, told Dhaka Tribune: "Two youths, with shoulder bags, were seen suspiciously roaming around the area on Sunday night.
“Locals detained them and handed them over to police. Later, we heard that they were carrying sharp weapons in their bags."
He said: "There was no electricity in the area last night and we were sleeping on the roof of the building. Around 3:10am, RAB officials came and woke us. They also told us to evacuate the house immediately.
“A little later, we heard gunshots and explosions."
Mithu added that although Wahab owned the house, caretaker Sohag has been living there for the past five or six years. Sohag also took care of Wahab's businesses.
Harun-ur-Rashid, a private car driver who lives in a nearby house, said: "The mosque was built some 10 to 15 days ago. Only five or six people were seen attending or offering prayers there regularly. But all of them are locals.”
He said that Sohag also looked after the mosque, while Wahab, who lives in Rayerbazar area, visited the house regularly.
Mithu also said the mosque caretaker Sohag has been living in tin-shed house owner Wahab's house for five-to-six years now. He also took care of Wahab's businesses. Wahab is known as a brick trader in the area.
Harun-ur-Rashid, a driver who lives in a nearby house, said: "The mosque was built some 15 to 20 days ago, where only five to six people offered prayers regularly.
“All of them are locals. Although Sohag used to look after the mosque, Wahab, who lives in the Rayerbazar area, used to visit it regularly."