DHAKA, Bangladesh - Associates have snatched two death-row militants from the district court premises in a daring escape that has unquestionably raised the question: was it a police failure or dereliction of duty?
According to police, the militants attacked police on orders from their fugitive leader, Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque alias Major Zia, a sacked army officer, to free the convicts.
On Sunday, they used two motorcycles to free Moinul Hasan Shamim and Abu Siddique Sohail. Sohail was sentenced to death for the murder of Avijit Roy, a writer-blogger, and both Sohel and Moinul were sentenced to death for the murder of Avijit's publisher, Faisal Arfeen.
After a hearing in another case, the militants sprayed chemicals in the eyes of the police officers escorting the convicts to the prison van from the court.
Md Arafat Rahman and Md Abdus Sabur, two other convicts, attempted to flee by assaulting the police officers maimed in the spray attack but were apprehended by other law enforcement officers.
To apprehend the escaped militants, police launched a massive manhunt. Law enforcement also issued a red alert and a Tk 2 million reward for information leading to the convicts' capture.
The militants involved in the incident on Sunday are members of the banned Ansar Al Islam group.
Former Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Haque sees both negligence and unprofessionalism in the incident.
"I see gross negligence on the part of everyone involved here." Unprofessionalism at its worst."