When Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka witnessed a siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery, a man named Soumir Baroi trapped inside one of the bathrooms at the bakery, witnessing a hostage situation, managed to establish contact with his brother Gopal via texts.
As the militants entered the popular hangout for foreigners in the capital’s diplomatic zone of Gulshan and held dozens of people hostage inside, Gopal tried to reach his elder brother Soumir, who works at the restaurant, over the phone. reports the Daily Star.
According to reports, after failing to reach his brother on one of his numbers, Gopal managed to reach Soumir on another number.
Soumir texted, “Me and nephew are fine. Locked in the bathroom”.
He texted again at 1:44 am, “What is the situation outside?”
Gopal replied saying, “Rapid Action Battalion is overlooking everything. They are doing all they can do, so that you all are not harmed.”
As the siege continued, the situation must have been hard for those trapped inside the building.
Soumir at 1:45 am, 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.”
To this Gopal replied: “Switch on your Facebook. Please give me one picture”.
The two brothers again exchanged a series of texts at 2:15 am.
Gopal wrote, “Do they know you are in the toilet?”
Soumir replied, “Yes”. To which Gopal asked, “Are they saying anything to you?”
Soumir said, “They don’t want anything. They have locked us”.
Gopal then told Soumir to sit on a side of the toilet as they may fire, to which Soumir replied, “Yes we are”.
Their conversation continued even at 4:58 am. and at 5:28 am.
Gopal texted: “We all pray for you so that you come back safe and sound”. Soumir replied: “Yes”.
At 5:48 am, 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 6:22 am, Gopal again enquired asking, “Please say how you are now?” There was no contact for a long time now.
At 7:40 am, an offensive was launched by the police and army.
Gopal since then 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.
Meanwhile, the siege at a cafe is over hours after gunmen held patrons hostage. In the process 18 people were rescued and six gunmen have been killed.
Image: A policeman stands at the entrance to a riot vehicle outside the Holey Artisan restaurant, where gunmen had taken hostages, in the upscale Gulshan area of Dhaka. Photograph: Reuters