A ‘deranged’ gunman who attempted to hijack a Biman BG147 flight from Dhaka to Dubai was shot dead by Bangladeshi commandos after the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the south-eastern city of Chittagong on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Bangladeshi national, whose identity was not revealed to media, fired two shots ten minutes into the flight, according to a passenger. The man claimed he had a bomb strapped to his chest.
After the plane was forced to land at Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport around 5.15 pm, the would-be hijacker said he wanted to talk to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his wife.
An air force official tricked him into a long conversation giving the army’s special forces enough time to prepare for the raid.
The commandos, who stormed the jet, wanted to catch the would-be hijacker alive. But as he turned aggressive, they shot at him. The suspect died shortly after his arrest. The 148 passengers and Biman crew were then safely evacuated.
Civil aviation chief, Nayeem Hasan, said the suspect seemed mentally deranged adding that an investigation would be opened to determine whether any security lapses led to the incident.
The motive behind the hijacking attempt was not clear.
Bangladesh has witnessed a rise in home-grown extremism targeting atheist bloggers, progressive thinkers and foreigners.
Gunmen, posing as Islamic State members, killed 22 youths, including 18 foreigners, at an upmarket cafe in Dhaka in 2016.
Hasina cracked the whip leading to the arrests or deaths of hundreds of suspected militants in raids across the country.