At least three more suspected drug peddlers were killed in reported gunfights with security forces in three districts yesterday, amid criticism from rights groups.
So far, over 110 people have been killed in such firefights with law enforcement agencies across Bangladesh, since the latter launched a countrywide anti-narcotics drive early last month.
According to the police, many deaths have also been the result of clashes between rival groups of drug dealers.
In Jessore, Raju Ahmed, 26, of Chougachha upazila, was killed in a reported gunfight between two groups of suspected drug dealers in Bagharpara upazila’s Bhatar Amtola area, early yesterday.
“The man was found with gunshot wounds at the scene after the other drug dealers fled the spot seeing the police team. He was declared dead when taken to Jessore General Hospital,” said Monjurul Alam, officer-in-charge of Bagharpara police station.
Claiming the man was a drug peddler, police said they also recovered a gun, bullets, bullet casings, and 3 kgs of cannabis from the scene.
Meanwhile, Raju’s mother, Kohinoor Begum, who identified the body at the hospital, said her son worked at a t-shirt manufacturing factory in Chittagong. He came home two months ago.
“After saying Esha prayers Wednesday night, Raju was returning home when a man identifying himself as a policeman called him over the phone and picked him up. Since then my son has been missing and his phone has been switched off,” she said.
Kohinoor said she found out through a Facebook post later in the morning that Raju’s bullet-ridden body was at the hospital.
In Madaripur, listed drug dealer Bachchu Khalifa, 45, was killed in a “gunfight” with police in Shibchar upazila’s Shambhuk area around 4am, said Superintendent of Police (SP), Md Sarwar Hossain.
He said a routine police patrol came upon a firefight between two groups of drug dealers . “The criminals fired at the police team sensing their presence. Bacchu was shot dead at that time.”
His body was later recovered and sent to Madaripur Sadar Hospital for autopsy.
The SP also said Bachchu, son of Safar Ali Khalifa of Shibchar, was wanted in 15 cases filed for drug peddling.
In Moulvibazar, another suspected drug peddler, Islam Ali, 45, was killed in a shootout with security forces at Paboi village of Kulaura upazila in the early hours of yesterday.
He was wanted in 14 cases filed for robbery and theft.
Kulaura police said three policemen, including Sub-inspector MD Yasin, were also injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, in Jhenaidah, locals and police allegedly “carried out vandalism” of the houses of drug traders at Hat Gopalpur of Sadar upazila on Wednesday evening.
“As part of the ongoing anti-drug drive all over the country, police raided the houses of drug dealers Anisur Rahman and Ganja Bilto,” said Emdadul Haque Sheikh, officer-in-charge of Sadar police station.
No one was arrested during the raid, he added.