2 killed in Rab 'crossfire'
Two alleged gang members of notorious Mortuza Bahini were killed in a “shootout” with the members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) at Sharankhola range of the East Sundarbans in Bagerhat yesterday.
Rab-8 Deputy Commander Maj Sabbir Rahman Osmani said they led a drive in Narikel Baria area in the morning on information that the gang members of Mortuza Bahini were sticking around that place.
He said around 12:00 noon, the Rab team on suspicion asked a boat on Chhapra Canal to stop. But the gang on board opened fire on the law enforcers and took position in a nearby woods. The Rab members and the robbers exchanged fire for over half an hour.
Later, Rab recovered the two bodies after their associates had fled the scene.
Rab said they recovered 12 firearms including a rocket launcher and seven foreign-made light guns (LG), and one magazine and 33 bullets from the spot.
Quoting Rab, Bagerhat Police Superintendent Rafiqul Islam said the gunfight took place between 12:00 noon and 1:00pm. “Rab sought police assistance later around 3:00pm.”
Sharankhola police took the bodies in the afternoon and will sent those to Bagerhat Sadar Hospital today.
Forest officer Mihir Kumar Do of East Sundarbans said he heard about the death of two people in a gunfight. But the forest department's security guards did not take part in the drive, he added.
Rab says several hundred fishermen were abducted from the Sundarbans areas this hilsha season by the gangs allegedly led by Mortuza, Sagar and Shahidul.
Of the fishermen, 14 were rescued by Rab in different drives. In addition, in the face of joint drives by the Navy and the Coast Guard, robbers had released many fishermen while some returned home after paying ransom.