Huge arms, ammo found in Dhaka canal
A large cache of firearms and ammunition was recovered from a canal at Uttara in the capital yesterday.
Acting on a tip-off, the police with the help of the fire service and civil defence scoured the canal and made the recovery.
The drive began around 4:00pm and ended around 11:25pm, said fire service sources, adding the drive would continue this morning.
Law enforcers has kept cordoned off the scene on the fringe of Sector-16.
As many as 97 foreign pistols, including two 9mm pistols, about 1,060 bullets, 452 magazines and 10 bayonets were found in the canal, claimed police and fire service sources.
Wrapped in paper, the arms and ammunition were kept in seven travel bags, the sources added.
Bidhan Tripura, deputy commissioner (Uttara division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said they began the drive after 3:30pm.
Quoting police sources, he said they came to know that a black sport utility vehicle went near the canal, someone got down from it and threw the bags into the water. He claimed that the vehicle had no number plates.
The police officer, however, did not answer when asked how such a vehicle having no plates could reach the scene, crossing so many police check posts in the area.
He also claimed that the recent combing operation and other police actions forced criminals to dump the arms and ammunition into the canal.
Bidhan said national and international quarters could have had a hand in this.
Talking to The Daily Star around midnight yesterday, Mahbube Khoda, officer-in-charge of Turag Police Station, said they were yet to trace the sport utility vehicle and arrest anyone over the incident.
Workers, who were working at a construction site near the canal, said they heard about the recovery in the afternoon. They saw policemen rushing to the spot around 4:00pm. Teams from the fire service followed, they added.
Senior Station Officer Liton Ahmed of the Uttara fire station, who was present during the drive, said the arms and ammunition were recovered from the canal by the fire service divers.
Fire service sources said police informed them of the matter.
Eight fire engines, including eight divers, took part in the operation.
Maj AKM Shakil Newaz, director (operation and maintenance) of the fire service and civil defence, said usually, the fire service plays the lead role in such recoveries. But this time, police led the drive.
Meanwhile, Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, director general of the fire service, told BBC Bangla Service that more arms were likely to be found in the canal.
Talking to reporters last night at the scene, DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said the arms and ammunition might have been abandoned in the canal by criminals who intended to create panic among people and deteriorate law and order.
He also said they were confident that they would be able to track the owner of the cache.
The incident happened amid a growing security concerns against the backdrop of recent targeted killings by suspected militants across the country.
A weeklong nationwide crackdown on militants and other criminals had just ended on Friday.