Two more killed in 'shootouts'
Two suspected criminals, including a leader of outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), were killed in "gunfights" between their cohorts and law enforcers in Khulna and Jessore yesterday.
Including them the number of extrajudicial killings comes to 17 in this month. At least eight were killed while they were in custody of law enforcers. Police versions of the "gunfights" were found more or less similar.
Extrajudicial killings should be stopped immediately, said Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a rights body that provides legal aid.
"If they are really accused [of crimes], they should be punished through a proper judicial process," she said, adding such extrajudicial killings should not be allowed in any democratic country.
Meanwhile, expressing concern over the recent spate of extrajudicial killings, Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation into the incidents.
Yesterday, Touhidul Islam Sabuj, 28, the second-in-command of PBCP, was killed in an exchange of shots between his party members and police in Phultala upazila of Khulna, according to police.
Sabuj and his associates were holding a meeting at Chatiantola in the upazila around 3:30am. On a tip-off, a police team led by the officer-in-charge of Phultala Police Station went to raid the area. A "gunfight" ensued as they fired at the law enforcers, said the OC, Mohammad Elias Fakir.
After the firing that lasted for nearly an hour, police found Sabuj lying in a pool of blood while his associates managed to flee.
He was taken to Phultala Upazila Health Complex where he succumbed to his injuries nearly eight hours after the incident, the OC added.
However, Monjur Morshed, upazila health and family planning officer, said he had heard from the doctor, who was on duty at the hospital at the time, that Sabuj was brought in dead.
Sabuj was accused in nine murder cases and three others filed under the Arms Act.
Police said they had recovered two firearms, 19 bullets, six handmade bombs and two machetes from the spot.
In Abhaynagar upazila of Jessore, Rabiul Islam, 28, a member of a local gang, Mesbah Bahini, was killed in a "gunfight" with the joint force, police sources said.
This is the gang that had hacked and then burnt alive Chaitanya Kumar Mondol, 48, the youth and sports secretary of Magura ward Awami League, on Sunday night.
Police arrested Rabiul yesterday in connection with a mugging case.
Acting on the information extracted from him, a team of the joint force conducted a drive at Ziadanga village in the upazila around 2:00am to recover arms, Syed Mostafa Kamal, assistant superintendent of police in Jessore, told The Daily Star.
As the law enforcers reached near a bamboo cluster of the village, cohorts of Mesbah-ur-Rahman, leader of the gang, opened fire on them, the ASP said. The join force members fired back.
During the "gunfight" Rabiul tried to run away and got injured in the firing. He was rushed to Abhaynagar Upazila Health Complex where doctors declared him dead.
Rabiul was accused in several cases, including murder and mugging charges.
Three police personnel also sustained minor injuries during the firing.
A pistol and two bullets were recovered from the scene.