Four men, allegedly members of a notorious kidnapping gang led by Abdul Hakim, were killed in what police said was a gunfight with law enforcers in Cox’s Bazar’s teknaf upazila today.
The deceased were identified as Md Bashir, Md Hamid, Md Rafiq, and Roinga.
They are alleged members of what locals claim are a gang of Rohingyas led by Abdul Hakim, who had abducted many others in the area for ransom, and killed those whose families could not meet the demands.
The gang had allegedly abducted seven local people in separate incidents in the last two months, of whom they killed three and released four others for ransom.
Pradeep Kumar Das, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, told The Daily Star, that the gunfight today took place around 1:00pm when law enforcers from Teknaf Police Station and Cox’s Bazar district police were conducting drives in the forest area of Chepotkhali in the upazila looking Abdul Kakim’s gang.
On information that they were holding up in the forest area, police conducted the drive, said Md Iqbal Hossain, additional superintendent (administration) of police in Cox’s Bazar.
Sensing presence of police, the criminals opened fire at them, prompting them to retaliate and thus the gunfight ensued, ASP Iqbal claimed, adding that several policemen sustained injuries in the incident.
Four members of the gang, including Hakim’s two brothers – Bashir and Hamid — died on the spot during the gun battle, while the others managed to flee, the official also said.
The bodies are being taken to Cox’s Bazar Medical College morgue for autopsy, while filing of a case in this connection is underway, the ASP added.
Police also recovered 40,000 yaba pills and four locally-made guns from the spot, OC Pradeep said.
Of the gang’s kidnappings, one took place on April 29 when they swooped on six farmers and then forced them deep inside a hilly area. Three of them — Abul Hashem, a farmer, and his two sons Reazuddin and Jamaluddin — were released later in exchange for rice and other food.
The criminals kept three others — Shahed, Akhtar Ullah and Md Idris — and demanded Tk 3 lakh ransom for them.
Later, they killed Akhtar Ullah and demanded Tk 20 lakh ransom for the release of Shahed and Idris.
The criminals then killed Shahed too while Idris was released later.
Police are continuing drives in the area to nab the gang, the OC added.