10 pirates killed by Bhola mob
Ten pirates wounded in a gunfight with police were later beaten to death by a mob in Bhola's Bhashan Char on Monpura estuary yesterday afternoon, police said.
Also, the police recovered the body of an abducted fisherman from the scene. But it could not be independently confirmed whether 28-year-old fisherman Bellal Hossain of Char Nizam was killed in crossfire or earlier by the pirates.
Police insisted that the pirates killed Bellal after his abduction earlier in the day.
Law enforcers launched a hunt -- following the abduction -- for the pirate gang led by one Zakir. The raid by the police prompted a gunfight with the pirates that continued for three hours.
Wounded in a hail of bullets, the pirates came to surrender to the police. But angry fishermen and other local people, who had accompanied the law enforcers during the raid, beat the pirates to death, police said.
Two of the dead were Zakir and his second-in-command, Bishu.
As many as 10 others, including two policemen, were injured during the raid that started around 2:00pm.
Police recovered two firearms and eight sharp weapons, and five trawlers, including two snatched from the fishermen, from the pirates' den. The pirates threw their guns into the sea after they ran out of bullets, police said.
The bodies were kept at Monpura Police Station.
Yesterday's incident took place against the backdrop of an increasing number of attacks on trawlers in Meghna's estuary. According to Monpura police and witnesses, bandits attacked more than 100 trawlers this month.
Abdur Rahim, deputy inspector general of police (Barisal range), Md Bashir Ahmed, Bhola superintendent of police, and Monpura Officer-in-Charge Mizanur Rahman, visited the scene later in the evening.
The Bhola SP said the pirate gang, Zakir Bahini, opened fire on two fishing trawlers at about 10:00am in the area. They captured the trawlers and abducted Bellal and Kasem, both fishermen.
Hearing this, a team of 14 policemen led by Sub-inspector Nurul Alam of Monpura Police Station and Sub-inspector Kamal, in-charge of Char Nizam Police Camp, chased the pirates by patrol boat.
When police reached Bhashan Char area around 2:00pm and asked the pirates to give themselves up, they opened fire on the policemen. Police fired back, SP Bashir told The Daily Star.
At one stage of the gunfight, more forces came in. Around 600 rounds were fired from both sides, of which police shot 80, he added.
“We had around 60 law enforcers in the operation,” Bashir said.
He, however, could not confirm whether the injured pirates died after being “beaten by the angry fishermen” or in the gunfight. But SI Nurul said the angry fishermen beat them dead.
Another policeman, seeking anonymity, said the law enforcers had no choice but stand inactive in the face of agitated fishermen, who far outnumbered them.
Barisal range DIG Abdur Rahim said police found four pirates and an abducted fisherman dead, when they searched the area after the gunfight. “The six others were beaten to death by locals as they tried to take shelter on a shoal,” he said.
On Tuesday, police raided a hideout of pirates at Shahjalal Char on the estuary of Meghna and recovered a huge cache of arms and weapon-making materials.