‘Please break the wall and take us’: A hostage texts his brother from inside Dhaka cafe

Published July 2, 2016
Bangladeshi soldiers and security personnel sit on top of armored vehicles as they cordon off an area near a restaurant popular with foreigners after heavily armed militants took dozens of hostages, in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. — AP
Bangladeshi soldiers and security personnel sit on top of armored vehicles as they cordon off an area near a restaurant popular with foreigners after heavily armed militants took dozens of hostages, in a diplomatic zone of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. — AP

Soumir Baroi held hostage inside one of the bathrooms at Dhaka's Holey Artisan Bakery, which witnessed a hostage situation, managed to establish contact with his brother Gopal via texts.

As gunmen held hostage dozens of people inside the popular hangout for foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital's diplomatic zone of Gulshan, Gopal tried to reach his elder brother Soumir, who works at the restaurant, over phone around 9:30pm.

After failing to reach him on one of his numbers, Gopal managed to reach Soumir on another number, which he did not pick up.

At 10:00pm: In reply to Gopal’s text, Soumir wrote, “Me and nephew are fine. Locked in the bathroom”.

At 1:44am: Soumir texted again “What is the situation outside?” To which Gopal replied “Rab [Rapid Action Battalion] is overlooking everything. They are doing all they can do, so that you all are not harmed”.

At 1:45am: Soumir texted again “Chhoto Mamun (his identity could not be known) knows where our toilet is. We are there. If you can, please break the wall and take us”. Gopal replied: “Switch on your Facebook. Please give me one picture”.

At 2:15am they exchanged a series of texts. Gopal wrote, “Do they know you are in the toilet?”

Soumir: “Yes”.

Gopal: “Are they saying anything to you?”

Soumir: “They don’t want anything. They have locked us”.

Gopal: “Dada please sit on a side of the toilet. They may fire”.

Soumir: “Yes we are”.

At 4:58am: Gopal asked: “Dada how are you now?”

Soumir: “Yeah”.

At 5:28am: Gopal texted: “We all pray for you so that you come back safe and sound”.

Soumir replied: “Yes”.

Again at 5:48am: Soumir still trapped inside texted: “May be Rab will enter now. Please come to the toilet soon. It is painful here”.

Gopal replied: “I have told a major about you all”.

At 6:22am: Gopal texted his brother: “Please say how you are now?”

There has been no contact for a long time now. At 7:40am an offensive was launched. Gopal has been trying to reach his brother for a while. At one point, he managed to get through the line, but there was no answer.

By arrangement with The Daily Star/ANN

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