The market price of these weapons are quite low, therefore the demand is high among local criminals in Moheshkhali. Apart from being used by local criminals, they are also transferred to other districts around the country evading law enforcers.
On January 4, RAB 7 members traced some weapons to a factory in Cox's Bazar. After raiding the factory, 22 firearms and 22 rounds of bullets were seized along with 33 other equipments used for manufacturing weapons.
The detainees are Abdul Mabud, 40 and Abu Taher, 42.
Among the 22 weapons recovered, 14 were single-barrel rifles, 6 were single-shot guns, a three-quarter gun, and a local rifle. Machine, pliers, blade, air machine, pipes were also found along with other weapon manufacturing equipments.
RAB 7's Lt Col Ashequr Rahman told Dhaka Tribune correspondents: “During the primary interrogation, Abdul admitted that he was living in the hill tracts and manufactured weapons in a small factory for a long time.”
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Arrestees Abdul Mabud and Abu Taher with the weapons cache recovered in the operation Dhaka Tribune
“He sold weapons to Rohingyas, pirates and robbers indiscriminately.”
“We are working to detain the all the members of this syndicate. The police and local citizens are helping us with out investigation,” he added.
There has been word of illegal firearms and weapons being manufactured in various factories hidden in the dense jungles of Moheshkhali hill tracts for a long time.The rising demand for locally-made weapons strongly encouraged the weapons syndicate to put more effort in their production.
Three years ago, Sub-Inspector (SI) Poresh Kumar was killed during a raid in the hill tracts.
The weapons syndicate has been suspected of a number of murders. In the last two years, 13 people have been killed by the syndicate in Kalarmarchora. There are quite a few criminal groups in the area and gunfights take place everyday.
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According to locals, there are several weapons manufacturing factories located in different areas of Moheshkhali. Anticipating late night raids, the weapons are mostly manufactured and smuggled during daytime.
Each weapon costs around Tk2,000 to Tk3,000 to manufacture, which is later sold at Tk4,000 to Tk5,000. Some weapons are also sold at Tk7,000 to Tk8,000 in different parts of the country.
The weapons manufactures have a very strong network. Their nationwide weapons delivery network involves using fishing trawlers or trucks filled with salt.
Acting Officer-in-Charge Babul Bonik told the Dhaka Tribune about seizing 38 weapons before transferring to Moheshkhali police station.
He said: “There are weapons factories located in the hilly forest, but we do not know exactly how many factories there are.
“As the area is quite remote, they can escape easily if they are alerted to our presence.”
He also said: “In the last 10 months several cases were filed against these manufacturers and they were detained too.
“We are are continuing the operation against the weapons dealers and manufacturers,” he added.