After a brief lull in anti-drug crackdown, members of law enforcement agencies including RAB have further intensified its drive against drug across the county.
Many listed drug dealers who came out of their hideouts taking the advantage of recently held 11th parliamentary polls have reportedly gone into hiding again immediately after the lawmen reinforced their operation, detective sources have said.
Alongside the big cities like Dhaka and Chattogram, law enforcement apparatus have boosted their activities in district towns, upazilas and unions.
Within the last 24 hours till early Thursday, four suspected drug dealers were killed in separate encounters with law enforcers including police and RAB at different parts of the country.
In Meherpur, police recovered the bullet-hit body of a suspected drug peddler from Buripota bordering area in Sadar upazila early Thursday.
Rabiul Islam, officer-in-charge of Sadar police station, said hearing sounds of gunshots, a police team went to the area and recovered the body of an unidentified man early in the morning and sent it to a local hospital for autopsy.
Police suspected that a gun battle took place between the two groups of drug peddlers in the area. Police also said they also recovered one shutter gun and 30 bottles of phensidyl syrup from the spot.
Tipped off, a team of detectives conducted a drive in the area at around 11:15pm, said Nasir Uddin Mridha, officer-in-charge of DB police.
Sensing presence of the law enforcers, Saiful’s associates opened fire on police, prompting them to fire back. At one stage, Saiful sustained bullet injuries while the others managed to flee.
Later, he was taken to Cumilla Medical College Hospital where the doctors declared him dead at around 12:00am.
One revolver, 300 pieces of Yaba tablets were recovered from the spot, the police official added.
Kotwali Model police station Officer-in-Charge Abu Salam Mia said Saiful was wanted in several cases.
In wee hours of Wednesday, two more suspected drug dealers were killed in a shootout with the members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Silonia area of Feni-Noakhali Regional Highway.
The dead were identified as Asad and Enamul Huq.
During the last 24 hours till Thursday morning, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested a total of 28 people on charges of taking and selling drug items like yaba from different parts of the capital.
Simultaneously, the strike force also recovered 338 pieces of yaba, 309 gram heroin and 1.59 kg hemp from their possession.
The anti-drug campaign has entered its ninth month, with more than 250 suspected drug dealers killed and around 50,000 arrested since May 4.
Of them, 35 listed drug traders were killed in shootouts with RAB during the countrywide anti-drug crackdown.
Simultaneously, the RAB-run mobile courts sentenced over 5,000 drug dealers and addicts to various terms in prison.
Some police and RAB officers said they are trying hard to detain local drug dealers.
“We have raided houses of almost all the listed drug dealers and peddlers but failed to nab any of them as they went into hiding,” they added.
According to local sources, many drug traders fled to Myanmar to avoid arrest. “We are trying to trace them and they won’t be spared.”
The government claims that the anti-drug campaign is being conducted to ‘save the country from the growing menace of drug use’.
Addressing the parliament on June 20, last year Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government will introduce anti-narcotics legislation that will include death penalty.
She further said the ‘special drives’ against ‘drug-related criminals’ are based on ‘zero tolerance’.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the journalists at different seminars and meetings that the anti-drug drive will continue till the problem is brought under control.
RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan said: “We want to eradicate drug trafficking and expel those involved in the drug trade here.”
Anti-drug operations will continue, he added.