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Dhaka Tribune

Ex-SI among 3 kidnappers arrested in Cox's Bazar; 5 hostages rescued

The gang used hotels as ‘torture cells,’ RAB says

Update : 21 May 2023, 03:58 PM

The Rapid Action Battalion have arrested three members of a kidnapping ring, including its mastermind, a sacked police sub-inspector, and rescued five hostages, including a couple, in Cox's Bazar.

RAB-15 Senior Assistant Director (Law and Media) Additional Superintendent of Police Md Abu Salam Chowdhury disclosed details of the operation at a press briefing on Saturday.

During the operation, carried out from Friday midnight till Saturday morning in the Kalatali and Sugandha Point areas, RAB discovered two “torture cells” in the hotel-motel zone there. 

These cells were used by the gang to keep their victims hostage and extort ransoms from their families.

The arrested individuals are SM Iqbal Parvez, the dismissed SI, MT Munna, and Mohammad Yusuf, identified as Parvez's accomplice.

The rescued victims include Md Shahjahan Kabir and Manjur Alam from Dhaka, a Rohingya couple from the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya upazila, and another individual from Cox's Bazar.

RAB's Md Abu Salam Chowdhury further revealed that they began investigating when the families of the Rohingya couple residing in the Kutupalong camp informed them about the couple's abduction.

The family said they paid Tk2 lakh in ransom through mobile banking but the couple was not released.

After identifying the kidnapping gang, RAB raided several safe houses on Friday night, under the leadership of Cox's Bazar RAB Commander Additional Police Superintendent Md Anwar Hossain Shamim, and rescued the hostages from two torture cells.

Among the victims, Md Shahjahan Kabir and Manjur Alam had come to Cox's Bazar and gone missing on May 16.

The families of Md Shahjahan Kabir and Manjur Alam then received a ransom demand of Tk15 lakh from an anonymous individual over the phone.

Despite partially fulfilling the ransom demand, Shahjahan and Manjur were not released.

Meanwhile, the gang members reportedly continuously raped the wife, after tying up the husband, when they did not receive the demanded hefty sum of money. The husband was also subjected to inhumane torture.

They were not released even after their families paid them Tk2 lakh.

About the mastermind, Md Abu Salam Chowdhury said SM Iqbal Parvez was previously arrested in December 2021 by RAB in Chittagong for possession of yaba while he was still a police officer.

After serving a prison term and losing his job, he reportedly engaged in various illegal activities following his release on bail.

In August 2022, the Tourist Police discovered another “torture cell” in Cox's Bazar.

In that case, four tourists being held hostage were rescued, and eleven individuals were arrested.

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