Three alleged human traffickers were killed in a “gunfight” with police in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar early yesterday.
The dead were identified as Dholu Hossain, 55, Jahangir Alam, 30, and Zafar Alam, 25. All of them were residents of the same upazila.
“Acting on a tip-off, a team of police conducted a raid at Hatchery Beach area in Teknaf around 3:30am,” Ataur Rahman Khandakar, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, told The Daily Star.
Sensing the presence of the law enforcers, the human traffickers opened fire on the police, prompting them to retaliate that triggered a 30-minute “gunfight”, he said.
The gunfight left the three traffickers dead on the spot, the OC added.
Four policemen were injured during the gunfight, police said. They took treatment at Teknaf Upazila Health Complex.
The bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families after autopsies.
Cox's Bazar Superintendent of Police Shyamol Kumar Nath yesterday told The Daily Star that, “It was the first ever encounter between police and human traffickers in the area.”
According to police, all were listed human traffickers and members of an organised trafficking gang. Dholu was accused in four human trafficking-related cases. He was released on bail 15 days ago after serving four months in jail.
His son Belal Hossain, 25, is also a member of the syndicate. He has been behind bars for the last two months.
Contacted, family members of the deceased refused to comment on the matter. However, a relative of Jahangir, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said plainclothes police picked up the trio from their houses on Thursday morning.
With the three, at least 56 people were killed in “shootouts” or “gunfights” with law enforcement agencies this year, according to The Daily Star reports.
The incident took place at a time when human trafficking issues were making headlines in the media outlets of South-East Asian countries following the discovery of a number of graves in abandoned camps in Thai jungles. The victims were believed to be the fortune seekers from Bangladesh and Myanmar.