At least four more suspected ‘drug dealers’ were killed in two separate incidents of ‘gunfights’ in Chittagong and Tangail early Wednesday, raising the death toll to 203 during the on-going nationwide anti-drug drive since May 15.
Of the deceased, three suspects were killed in a ‘gunfight’ with Rapid Action Battalion at Khulshi of the port city of Chittagong while the other one was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with the police at Pustakamuri under Mirzapur in Tangail while he was in police custody, according to the police and the RAB.
The RAB began the drive on May 4 and the Police on May 18. The first incident of death in ‘gunfight’ with the RAB was reported on May 15.
Different rights and citizen groups in home and abroad as well as a section of politicians had been criticizing deaths in ‘gunfight’ incidents, terming the deaths as extrajudicial killings.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on several occasions claimed that the deaths were not extrajudicial ones as the members of law enforcement agencies opened fire only after they came under attack by the suspected drug dealers.
The New Age correspondent in Chittagong, quoting RAB-7 assistant director (media) Mimtanur Rahman, reported that three suspected drug dealers — Anwar Hossain, 31, and Dalim Sheikh, 29, of Morelganj in Bagerhat and another unidentified one — were killed in a ‘gunfight’ with the RAB members at Railway Canteen Gate area of Khulshi in the port city on Thursday around 3:00am.
He said they, on tip off that a group of drug dealers had been coming to Chittagong from Comilla by a private car, set a check-post at Railway Canteen Gate area and at about 3:00am, they asked a private car to stop.
But the suspected drug dealers opened fire from the car, forcing the RAB to retaliate by firing, he said, adding that they found the bullet-hit trio lying on the spot and took them to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where on-duty doctors declared them dead.
Mimtanur claimed that they seized 120 kilograms of hemp, two firearms and bullets from the spot.
The New Age Correspondent in Tangail, quoting Mirzapur police station officer-in-charge AKM Mizanul Huq, reported that suspected drug dealer Nazmul Islam, 28, of village Bhagjan under Mirzapur was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with police at Pustakamuri of Mirzapur early on Thursday.
OC Mizan said the gunfight between police and Nazmul’s cohorts occurred when the cops were returning to the police station after arresting him from his residence.
He said the victim was named in at least 12 cases for committing different crimes, including drug peddling, murder, robbery and mugging.
The police officer said that they seized three knives and cases of cartridges from the spot.
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