Fri. Apr 10th, 2020

PBC24 – Global Bangladeshi news channel

Probashi Barta Corporation (USA)

373 people killed in drug war in Bangladesh, drug abuse remains unaffected

The ongoing anti-drug drive in which at least 373 people have been killed since its launching on May 4, 2018 has yielded hardly any result as abuse and peddling of drugs go unabated.
Department of Narcotics Control officials said that about 119,000 cases were filed against about 150,000 people while over 5.50 crore pieces of Yaba, among others, were seized nationwide by the different law enforcement agencies between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019.
The statistics posted on the department website showed that about 4 crore Yaba pills were seized by law enforcement agencies in 2017.
Its director (operations) Masum Rabbani, however, claimed that the drives brought down the flow of drugs in Bangladesh by 40 per cent and expressed hope that continued efforts especially with joint drive would help the authorities to control drugs.
Border Guard Bangladesh alone seized 22,66,669 Yaba pills in the first three months of 2019, border guard officials said.
The drive began on May 4, 2018 but the major crackdown against suspected drug peddlers started from May 15, 2018 just a day after the Bangladesh delegation led by law minister Anisul Huq completed hearing at the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group in Geneva on May 14, 2018.
At least 373 suspected drug peddlers were killed in reported crossfire or gunfight, or found dead in the ongoing drive, according to media reports.
Rapid Action Battalion statistics showed that 104 suspected drug peddlers were killed in reported gunfights with battalion personnel between May 3, 2018 and May 1, 2019 while it arrested 24,898 suspects, seized 1.06 lakh Myanmar-made Yaba pills and 1,49,695 bottles of Indian Phensedyl syrup, among others.
Prison officials said that 28,321 people were detained in jails, as of March 25, 2019, in drugs-related cases.
Personnel from army, border guard, coast guard and police, among others, were arrested while rights groups alleged oppositional political activists were also targeted and killed during the drive.
The government in the past one year took numerous initiatives, including restricting mobile banking services in Cox’s Bazar, setting up additional unit of Rapid Action Battalion and launching money laundering investigation against suspected drug peddlers, among others.
Despite the initiatives and death of one suspect every day on an average, the supply of illicit drugs continued, said law enforcement officials.
The battalion said that it seized a truck with 49,600 Yaba bills and arrested two suspected drug peddlers in Karnafuli area of Chattogram city on Saturday.
On May 2, the battalion in a raid in Cox’s Bazar arrested three suspects — Abu Bakar Siddique, Mohammad Ayas and Selim Uddin — with 60,000 Yaba pills.
Abu Bakar is the brother of suspected Yaba trader Abu Taher, who surrendered to the Cox’s Bazar police at a function at Teknaf in the presence of home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on February 16.
Cox’s Bazar superintendent of police ABM Masud Hossain said that they tried to disrupt ‘uninterrupted flow of Yaba’ from Myanmar and they succeeded in many cases.
He suggested installation of barbwire fence along 10 kilometers of Bangladesh-Myanmar border to curb the smuggling of Yaba produced in Myanmar.
Rights activists from the very beginning were advocating for the massive awareness and continued consultation with the Myanmar authorities.
Lawmakers and law enforcers at a meeting in Dhaka on early April blamed each other for the nexus of the administration with drug peddlers and criminals.

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