'Shootout' spree on
Seven suspected criminals were killed in what law enforcers said were incidents of “shootout” amid a crackdown on narcotics in the last one day.
Of them, five were suspected drug dealers, while one was an alleged robber and the other a suspected mugger, according to police and Rab.
Another suspected drug dealer, according to police, drowned in a canal trying to flee arrest on Saturday night.
The incidents took place in different parts of the country.
Early yesterday, four suspected drug dealers were killed after being hit by bullets during “shootouts” in Jessore, Feni, Mymensingh and Dinajpur.
Police have begun a crackdown on narcotics since Friday.
Police claimed the alleged mugger and the suspected robber were killed in Barisal and Tangail after being shot during “gunfights” with police.
Since May 4, when Rab started its own country-wide anti-narcotics drive, nine other suspected drug dealers were killed. Six of them were killed on Friday and Saturday.
Rab claimed that the individuals were top drug dealers, who were shot during gunfights.
The Police Headquarters (PHQ) have recently instructed all police units across the country to conduct a special 10-day countrywide anti-narcotics drive form the first day of Ramadan, officials said.
The PHQ notified officers that the units the combating narcotics effectively would be praised, while the ones failing to perform would face action, officials said.
Saheli Ferdous, assistant inspector general of PHQ, told The Daily Star yesterday that the unit chiefs were asked to submit a report to the PHQ detailing their initiatives during the drive.
All police units were asked to form intelligence teams and make detailed databases that would include addresses and pictures of drug dealers, investors, godfathers, carriers and users.
Police units were also asked to prepare lists of seized drugs and send samples to laboratory for examination.
The databases would then be sent to the PHQ's narcotics monitoring cell, said a top officer.
The PHQ has already prepared a list of 26,299 drug dealers and patrons and has been conducting raids to catch them, the officer said wishing anonymity.
Several officials of the PHQ also told The Daily Star that they were giving priority to gaining intelligence about the source and destination of drugs.
Besides, the field units were asked to keep an eye on slums, messes, hotels, under-construction and abandoned buildings, they added.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at an awareness campaign yesterday said the ongoing anti-drug drive would continue as the situation had taken a turn for the worse.
Benazir Ahmed, director general of Rab, which organised the event in the capital's Gulistan, said no one involved in drugs would be spared.
Asked if he thought drugs could be combated through the so-called shootouts, the Rab DG said, “We think this problem cannot be solved with one single method….We want involvement of the entire nation. We are not saying only arrest or conviction by mobile courts or gun fire exchange can solve it.”
In Jessore, suspected drug trader Dalim Hossain, 35, of Shankarpur village, was killed in what police said was a gunfight between two groups of drug traffickers around 4:00am.
AKM Azmal Huda, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Model Police Station, said a police team recovered the body from a village.
Police also claimed to have recovered 500 yaba pills, a gun and several bullets from the scene.
Dalim was arrested earlier on multiple occasions with yaba, police claimed.
On Saturday, three suspected drug dealers were killed during “an exchange of fire” with Rab officers in Abhaynagar upazila of the district.
In Feni, suspected drugs and arms dealer Alamgir Hossain, 35, was killed in a “gunfight” with police in Chhagalnaiya upazila early yesterday. Two policemen were said to be injured in the incident.
MM Morshed, officer-in-charge of Chhagalnaiya Police Station, said Alamgir was accused in nine cases.
Police said Alamgir sustained bullets in the gunfight between armed drug dealers and policemen.
A pistol, three bullets, 1,000 yaba pills and 100 bottles of Phensidyl were recovered from the scene.
In Mymensingh, suspected drug dealer Raziul Hasan Biplob, 45, was killed in a similar incident at Maskanda Gonshar intersection early yesterday.
Ashikur Rahman, officer-in-charge of district DB police, confirmed the incident.
Biplob was wanted in at least five drug related cases, he said.
In Dinajpur, suspected drug dealer Babu alias Galkata Babu, 45, of Tagra Narayanpur village, was killed in another similar incident.
Hamidul Alam, superintendent of police in Dinajpur, confirmed the incident.
Police recovered a firearm, two sharp weapons, four crude bombs and 193 bottles of Phensidyl from the spot.
Two policemen were also injured in the incident, he claimed.
In Tangail's ghatail early today suspected drug dealer Kalam Azad was killed after being shot during a “gunfight” between his gang and Rab, said a Rab sms.
Also in Tangail early yesterday, suspected mugger Imon, 22, died during a “gunfight” between his gang and police while Abul Kashem, a suspected robber, was killed in a similar incident in Barisal around the same time.