Pirate gangs in Sundarbans unite against BDR drive | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 26, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 26, 2008

Pirate gangs in Sundarbans unite against BDR drive

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Fishermen feel insecure to go for fishing in the Sundarbans fearing reprisal by pirates who are reportedly regrouping after the January 1 killing of five gang members in a gunfight with BDR at Kalir Char on Kalindi river.
The four gangs of pirates who virtually rule the vast mangrove forest are closing ranks to retaliate the killing, sources claimed.
Four temporary BDR camps were set up in the Sundarbans eight months ago but strength of the security force and logistics are too inadequate to ensure security in the forest, which provides livelihood to thousands of fishermen, honey collectors and locals.
Maj Alamgir, Commanding Officer of 7 Rifles Battalion at Nildumur, said BDR personnel are patrolling the forest to nab pirates and smugglers. The camps are at Kachhikata and Daiti on Roymongal river; Angtihara in Kholpetua river and Choddorashi in Kabodak river in the Sundarbans.
He said a letter has been written to higher authorities to set two more camps and provide them with modern logistics to intensify the drive against pirates and smugglers.
Sources claimed that pirates belonging to Masum Bahini, Raju Bahini, Motaleb Bahini and Baki Billah Bahini are regrouping again to increase their strength in the Sundarbans to counter law enforcers' drive.
This was disclosed by arrested pirate Bablu Mollah who was injured in the January 1 gunfight with BDR.
The gangs move on mechanised boats and possess sophisticated arms.
The pirates attack fishermen and honey collectors, realise toll from them. Incidents of abduction for toll and looting money and equipment from fishermen take place often in east and western zones of the Sundarbans.
The five pirates killed in the a gunfight were Md Zulu, 32, and Md Baki, 38, of Rampal in Bagerhat; Md Nasir, 34, of Rupsa and Samrat Zahir, 40, of Daulatpur in Khulna and Khokon of Morelganj in Bagerhat.
During interrogation, Bablu Mollah told BDR that the five foreign guns recovered by BDR after the gunfight were earlier looted by members of Baki Billah Bahini from gangs belonging to Motaleb Bahini on December 6 last year.
After the killing of five pirates, the gangs are now closing ranks and regrouping, Bablu told BDR.
The four pirate groups control Dublar Char, Mandarbaria, Balir Gao, Shirsha, Kalir Char, Panir Khal and Goral area at Roy Mongal estuary and other areas in the Sundarbans.
This correspondent talked to fishermen Jasim uddin, Zakir Hossain, Rajib Hossain and Shajahan Hawladar, rescued by BDR on Tuesday from abductors.
The four were among 11 fishermen abducted by pirates from Mandarbaria on December 28. The 11 were among 55 fishermen from Patharghata in Barguna district. The pirates also looted all the boats and demanded Tk 15,000 each for their release.
They said the pirates went into hiding after the January 1 gunfight and will reappear soon. They are regrouping and preparing to launch attacks and abduct fishermen again, the fishermen claimed.
They urged BDR, Coast Guard and forest guards to intensify patrol in the Sundarbans to ensure safety of fishermen, honey collectors and others.
Rakesh Chakma, assistant conservator of forest in Satkhira Range of the Sundarbans, said pirate gangs have modern weapons. Five BDR men in a camp in deep forest are too inadequate to face the pirates, he said.
Forest guards also feel insecure to resist the well equipped pirates, he said.

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