The ‘gunfights’ took place early Monday
Nine people were killed in a spate of alleged gunfights between law enforcers and suspected drug peddlers in seven districts of the country on Monday.
A total of seven fatal firearms incidents involving police or Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were recorded in Tangail, Rajshahi, Jhenaidah, Jashore, Chuadanga, Narsingdi and Gazipur.
The killings of the alleged dealers - in what the authorities across the board described as “gunfights” - comes just days after the government reaffirmed its “zero-tolerance” approach to drug abuse and drug peddling.
Monday’s violence began in the Deulabari area of Tangail, when a suspected drug peddler was killed in a “gunfight” with members of the elite (RAB) at around 12:30am.
Tangail RAB-12, CPC-3 Company Commander Rabiul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that two of his force were also injured in the incident.
“Acting on a tip-off, we went to the area to arrest the drug traders (but) sensing our presence, they opened fire at us,” he said.
In retaliation, the elite force members fired back, fatally injuring Abul Kalam Azad, 45, of east Pakutia area. The other suspects managed to flee the scene, but Azad was taken to Tangail General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A foreign-made pistol, three rounds of bullets, one magazine, 100 bottles of phensedyl, 1,500 yaba tablets and drug-taking equipment were recovered from the spot.
The RAB commander said Azad was accused in six cases filed for drug trade. He also named Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Md Saimidul Islam and Lieutenant Nayek Anisur Rahman as the two officers injured in the incident.
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In Rajshahi, a suspected drug trader named Liakat Ali was killed in a “gunfight” with RAB in Belpukur area under Puthia upazila at around 12:30am.
RAB 5 Deputy Commander Major AM Ashraful Islam said Liakat was declared dead when taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.
“Liakat was accused in eight cases,” he said. “A pistol, one round of bullets and some bullet shells were recovered from the spot.”
In Jhenaidah, Shobdul Islam, a suspected drug peddler, died in an alleged exchange of fire with RAB in Narendrapur area under Kaliganj at around 2am.
“Two to three people riding on a motorcycle opened fire at a patrolling team of the elite force while crossing a checkpost at around 2am,” RAB 6 Company Commander Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Golam Morshed said.
In retaliation, the elite force members fired back, fatally injuring Shobdul while the others managed to flee the scene.
“Shobdul was declared dead when taken to Kaliganj Upazila Health Complex,” the RAB officer said.
“A pistol, two rounds of bullets, a magazine, 100 bottles of phensedyl, 150 pieces of yaba tablets and Tk1,100 were recovered from the spot.”
In Jashore, three suspected drug traders were killed in separate “gunfights” in the district in the early hours of the day.
Kotwali police station Officer-in-Charge Amzad Huda, SI Arun Kumar Das, and sub city camp in-charge Abdur Rahim said the drug traders were killed in “gunfights” with another group of drug dealers.
Police said they found the bodies when they went to the spots.
A total of four firearms, two rounds of bullets, 400 pieces of yaba pills, and some bullet shells were recovered from the spot.
In Chuadanga, 33-year-old suspected drug trader Jonab Ali was killed in a “gunfight” with police in Shonnashitola field.
“Jonab was accused in 11 drug cases,” Jibannagar police station OC Mamud Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Two cartridges, a gun, three machetes, and a sack full of phensedyl bottles were recovered from the spot.”
In Narsingdi, a listed drug trader named Iman Ali was killed in a reported gunfight with RAB in Ghorashal toll plaza area under Palash upazila at around 4am.
Company Commander Jasim Uddin confirmed the incident, reports the UNB. He said two RAB members were also injured in the incident.
In Tongi, Gazipur, suspected drug trader Rezaul Islam alias Besoti Rony was killed in a reported gunfight with police at around 3am.
Kamal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Tongi model police station, said a team of police were conducting a drive in the area following a tip-off.
“Sensing the presence of law enforcers, the drug traders opened fire on us, forcing us to retaliate, triggering the gunfight,” he said.
Rony was caught in the line of fire and died on the spot. Police said he was accused in 15 cases.
Our correspondents in Tangail, Rajshahi, Jhenaidah, Jashore, Chuadanga, and Gazipur contributed to this report