Police have recovered a large cache of small arms and ammunition from a canal, reportedly dropped there within the day, in the capital’s Uttara neighbourhood.
At 10pm yesterday when this report was filed, the law enforcers and Fire Service were still scouring the canal at Rustampur in Uttara Sector 14, near a Buddhist monastery.
The search began in the afternoon based on a tip off, DMP Uttara Zone’s Deputy Commissioner Bidhan Tripura told the Dhaka Tribune.
Until 10pm, 97 foreign pistols, 263 SMG magazines, over 1,060 rounds of bullets and 10 bayonets had been recovered, the DC said.
Sources in the police told the Dhaka Tribune 95 of the pistols were 7.62mm and the other two were 9mm. Of the bullets, 220 were 7.62mm and 840 were 9mm.
Police were tipped off by sources that several men had arrived in a black SUV in the afternoon and dumped several bags in the canal, DC Bidhan said.
But a Turag Police Station source told the Dhaka Tribune one of their constables was taking a stroll with his family on the canal’s bank when he saw men coming out of a black SUV and throw bags into the canal. He thought a dead body was being dumped and called his station.
“So far we have found eight travel bags containing weapons and ammunition,” DC Bidhan said, adding that they would continue the search operation throughout the night.
The bags contained 140 boxes, he said.
The officer said criminals may have discarded the arms being pressed by the recent police drive.
“However, we’re not sure whether they dumped the weapons or were trying to hide them.”
Asked how the vehicle carrying weapons had eluded the many police checkpoints in the area, the DC said the DMP did not have enough manpower to monitor the huge population of Dhaka.
He also said the checkpoints stopped and searched vehicles if they appeared suspicious, and would not let a car pass because it looked expensive.
Bangladesh Fire Service Director (operations) AKM Shakil Newaz said nine units of the service, including two units of divers and boats were working on the canal.
Police called the Fire Service in at 4pm, he said.
The recovery comes only a day after the end of a seven-day special countrywide crackdown on militants following a spate of attacks on secularists, minorities and foreigners since last year, claimed mostly by Ansarullah Bangla Team and Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
In the most of the attacks, the assailants used machetes and small firearms.
The police have also found the involvement of another outlawed group Hizb ut-Tahrir in the targeted killings. One of its members was caught by locals while fleeing after hacking a Hindu college teacher in Madaripur on Wednesday.
Two recent intelligence reports said over 100 members of the group had taken training to stage an armed revolution with some members of Islami Chhatra Shibir to establish Caliphate.
Some 450 Hizb ut-Tahrir leaders and activists, out of over 650 arrested since 2009 when the group was banned, have gone into hiding after getting bail, the reports suggest.
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