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Second fatality in Cox’s Bazar 'gunfight' since Sinha murder

  • Published at 12:50 pm December 22nd, 2020
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Photo: Bigstock

The alleged firing took place between a team of RAB and  a group of suspected drug dealers in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar in the early hours of Tuesday

A suspected yaba smuggler has been killed in a reported gunfight with Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Teknaf upazila, Cox’s Bazar.

This is second such incident since July 31 when a retired army officer was killed in a police firing in the coastal district.

The latest incident took place at Shamlapur in Teknaf in the early hours of Tuesday.

The deceased has not been identified yet, said ASP Abdullah Md Sheikh Saadi, assistant director (media) of RAB 15 in Cox’s Bazar.

“A RAB team conducted an anti-drug drive in Shamlapur of Teknaf early today,” the RAB official said. “During the raid, the team came across a group suspected to be involved with drug dealing. The suspects opened fire at the RAB team in a state of surprise, prompting the latter to fire back in self-defence.

“At one point, the armed criminals fled the scene, leaving behind one of their associates with bullet wounds. The man was taken to Teknaf Upazila Health Complex, where he was pronounced dead.”

Furthermore, upon inspection, RAB recovered 10,000 yaba pills, a locally-made gun (LG), a knife and three rounds of bullets from the spot, the RAB official added.

The 10,000 yaba pills, a locally-made gun, a knife and three bullets that RAB recovered from the site of the supposed gunfight in Shamlapur under Teknaf upazila, Cox's Bazar on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 | Dhaka Tribune

Teknaf police sent the body to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital morgue for an autopsy.

Police are working to identify the deceased as well as on the appropriate legal action, the RAB official said.

The first death from a gun battle in Cox’s Bazar since July 31, when Major (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan was killed in police firing, was reported on November 14, as the number of such alleged extrajudicial killings dropped drastically after Sinha’s death.

The retired army official’s death not only sparked shock and outrage in Bangladesh, but also drew criticism abroad.

It triggered a major reshuffle in Cox’s Bazar police – the largest in the history of Bangladesh Police – where over 1,300 officials were removed from the coastal district.

In late October this year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the US government urged the Trump administration to impose sanction on the senior officials of RAB, for reportedly killing more than 400 people extrajudicially since 2015.

No fewer than 588 people were killed during the government's anti-narcotics crackdown between May 2018 and August 25, 2020, according to Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB), a coalition of 20 human rights and development organizations.

From January to August 25 this year, some 210 people were victims of "gunfights," it added.

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