Bangladesh Coast Guard rescued 178 bawalis (wood collectors) who were held hostage by forest robbers after a gunfight in Tepar Bharani canal of the Sundarbans under Dakope upazila of Khulna district on Monday.
Tipped off that a gang of robbers belonging to famous “Mosharraf Bahini” held a number of bawalis hostage in the forest, a coast guard team conducted a search mission in the area Monday morning, said Lieutenant Commander Abdullah Al Maruf, assistant director of the coast guard’s intelligence wing.
He said sensing the presence of the coast guard members, the robbers opened fire targeting them, forcing them to retaliate that triggered a shootout.
The coast guard members rescued 178 bawalis from different parts of the canal and recovered 55 Nypa-laden boats after the gang retreated in trawlers at one stage.
The raid also destroyed two dens belonging to the gangs, said Maruf.