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Dhaka Tribune


Miscreants using weapons manufactured in remote hills

  • The raids started on Dec 9 and will end Dec 24
  • RAB already found arms factory deep inside a hill in Cox’s Bazar
Update : 17 Dec 2023, 10:13 AM

Law enforcement agencies have started countrywide special operations for 23 days to recover illegal weapons, mainly firearms, and check violence centering the January 7 general election. 

The Election Commission on December 3 instructed law enforcement agencies in this regard.

Starting from December 9, block, combined and combing operations based on intel information have been conducted every day. They are  set to end on December 24. 

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has already discovered an arms factory deep inside a hill in Eidgarh’s Tulatali area under Ramu upazila of Cox’s Bazar. It arrested four people from there and seized materials used in manufacturing firearms. 

The crime ring that was linked to the factory used to not only manufacture firearms but also sell them. The firearms would be used in robberies, abductions, and to collect ransoms. 

Alarmingly, they would supply the weapons to several other criminal groups across the country, according to RAB.

The elite force raided the factory in Ramu on December 13 after a raid spanning more than 16 hours.  

Even though four people -- Sahab Uddin, 40, Laal Miah, 58, Main Uddin, 43, and Jafar Alam, 41 --  were arrested, the factory owner and main weapon mechanic, Maniul Haq, managed to flee after sensing the presence of law enforcers.  

RAB-15 Commander Lt Col HM Sazzad Hoaasin told Bangla Tribune that the crime ring had long been manufacturing firearms illegally and selling them to many miscreants. 

As the factory is located in a remote hill, it was not under the scanner of law enforcement agencies and the factory owner and his aides would go into hiding in the woods after criminal offences. 

“The arms dealing is kind of a family business. In primary interrogation, the arrestees admitted that their father and uncles were also involved in manufacturing and selling illegal firearms,” the RAB official said.

Contacting buyers

Asked about how they would contact their clients despite being in the remote hill, Sazzad said: “They have mastered the way (to communicate).”

Of the four arrestees, three are mechanics and the other is mainly tasked with contacting their customers. 

“They would mostly manufacture shotguns,” the RAB official said, adding that the arrestees have divulged information about more people linked to the factory and illegal arms business.  

There are more such factories in the hills that the law enforcers are trying to identify and raid soon.

“We’ve been carrying out operations to find and arrest those linked to the factories,” Sazzad said.  

He went on to say that a countrywide 23-day raid is being conducted to recover illegal firearms and arrest their traders before the parliamentary election to minimize violence.  

The police on December 9 started the crackdown on listed firearms mechanics and traders as well as miscreants linked to different political parties.  

The country’s bordering areas are given maximum priority during the raids. As part of the operations, intelligence agencies have intensified monitoring on the illegal firearms-trafficking routes.

Grave data 

Between January and November, the law enforcement agencies recovered 642 illegal firearms and arrested 311 people during their countrywide raids.  

The Border Guard Bangladesh alone seized 106 firearms in border areas over the period. 

Meanwhile, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) recovered 73 firearms, including 19 foreign-made pistols, in the capital in the first eight months of the year. Seventy-one people were arrested in 42 cases by the DMP during the period.

A staggering 5,879 illegal weapons were recovered last year. 

Deputy Inspector General of Police Md Anwar Hossain said that they conduct raids to recover illegal arms regularly. 

“But before elections, such operations intensity so that miscreants cannot create troubles centering the voting,” he said.

“We’ve been told to arrest listed criminals, extortionists and warranted accused,” he added. 

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