Teknaf, the valley of ‘gunfight’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:53 PM, August 06, 2020

Teknaf, the valley of ‘gunfight’

Marine Drive is a ‘favourite spot’

At least 87 people have been killed in 48 incidents of "gunfights" involving Teknaf police alone between August 1, 2018 and August 1, 2020.

An analysis of reports published by The Daily Star during this period shows this figure.

Pradip Kumar took over as officer-in-charge of Teknaf Model Police Station on October 19, 2018.

A total of 107 incidents of "shootouts" in Cox's Bazar, including 48 in Teknaf, were recorded by this newspaper during the same two-year period. At least 184 people, including 65 Rohingyas, were killed in those incidents.

Apart from Teknaf police, Border Guard Bangladesh battalions-2 and 34, Rab-15, Rab-7, Cox's Bazar Model Police Station and Ukhiya Police Station were involved in those "shootouts".

The Rapid Action Battalion, which has been tasked with the investigation of Maj (retd) Sinha Rashed Khan's killing, was involved in 21 incidents of "shootout" between August 2018 to 2020 as per the coverage of this newspaper. At least 38 people were killed in those incidents.

At least 52 people were killed in "gunfights" with the BGB. No law enforcer was killed in any of these incidents. As per what the statements put out by the BGB to this newspaper, a majority of these incidences happened when alleged criminals were crossing the border or the Naf river with drugs.

Marine Drive, the 80-kilometre long road linking Cox's Bazar with Teknaf, is one spot where at least nine incidents of "shootout" happened, with most of them occurring in Shamlapur area. Maj (retd) Sinha Rashed Khan was also killed in an incident there.

But there are other areas where "gunfights" commonly occurred. The areas include Baharchhara Nayapara, Whykhong, Hnila union, Dargapara and Jadimura Hill.

In most of the cases, the law enforcers claimed that those killed in "shootouts" were drug traders. Besides, there were "robbers" and "murderers" also. The Daily Star could not independently verify the claims in most of the cases.

There were two major story lines for all the "gunfights". One is that those killed would be meeting at a spot, the law enforcers would reach there, and they would come under attack from "criminals". A "shootout" would ensue and one or more of the alleged criminals would be killed.

The other story is that an alleged criminal is arrested, and the law enforcers take him to a spot to recover drugs or arms. The alleged criminal's gang members would be lying in wait. A "shootout" would follow, and only the person leading the law enforcers to the spot would be killed.

No cases against the law enforcers were reported to have been filed by the families of the deceased in connection with any of the "gunfight" incidents covered by this newspaper.

The last "shootout" incident on Marine Drive happened at 4:00am on June 24 this year. Imam Hossen, a 30-year-old resident of Hnila union, who the Teknaf police claimed to be a drug peddler, was killed in a "gunfight" with police. Law enforcers claimed to have recovered a gun, three bullets and 20,000 yaba pills from the spot. The Daily Star, however, could not independently verify the law enforcers' claims.

On March 11 this year, two Rohingya men were killed in a "gunfight" with Rab-15 on Marine Drive. The deceased are Saiful Islam, 38, and Nur Kamal, 34.

The company commander of Rab-15, Shahed Mahtab, had told this newspaper that they had a tip-off that a group of "robbers" were preparing to commit a robbery at 1:00am, so they raided the spot. The robbers opened fire, forcing the Rab men to fire back.


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