Special drive to check piracy in Sundarbans, coasts
Coast guards, police and forest guards have launched a special joint drive titled Operation Sandhan to check piracy in the coastal belts of the Sundarbans in Khulna and Bagerhat districts.
Over 200 men of police department and Sundarbans Forest Division are assisting coastguards in the operation that started on Monday, said sources of coastguard (West Zone).
Meanwhile, four pirates sustained bullet injuries as rival pirate gangs Sohag Bahini and Manik Bahini traded around 100 rounds of bullets during an hour-long gunfight at Chalitabunia in Sharankhola upazila Tuesday morning, forest officials said.
The main aim of Operation Sandhan is to arrest pirates, recover their arms, silence their activities in the Sundarbans and the sea, stop infiltration of foreign fishermen and thus restore a sense of security in the area, said Lt SM Waliur Rahman, chief coordinator of the operation.
A ship named as 'CGS Bogra' anchored in the sea seventy kilometres away from Mongla carrying necessary equipment to carry out the combing operations and hit hideouts of pirates in the sea and the Sundarbans, said Lt Waliur Rahman.
Fishermen and bawalis (honey collectors) find it difficult to do their work due to piracy, extortion and abduction for ransom in the Sundarbans and coastal areas as there are ten organised groups comprising over 300 pirates only in the East Wing of Sundarbans Forest Division, coastguard sources said.
The criminals are in possession of modern foreign-made arms, huge ammunition and fast moving engine boats.
Foreign fishermen who infiltrate into 'Swatch of No Ground' in the Bay of Bengal falling within the jurisdiction of Bangladesh territorial waters are allegedly involved in looting fishes and other belongings from Bangladeshi fishermen.
Therefore, 710 kilometres of coastal belts including the Sundarbans have been brought within the purview of the special operation, said the coordinator.