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Bangladesh: 110 Suspected Peddlers Killed in Anti-Drug Crackdown

Bangladesh’s anti-drug campaign leads to the clashes between suspected peddlers and security forces, killing 110. 

Published
World
2 min read
Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) soldiers stand guard during a raid on suspected drug dealers at Mohammadpur Geneva Camp in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday,  26 May, 2018. 
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Over 110 suspected drug peddlers across Bangladesh were gunned down by Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion 4 in extrajudicial killings as part of anti-drugs crackdown, reported Dhaka Tribune.

As per the reports, nearly 3,000 suspects were detained in the crackdown that was launched earlier this month by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

According to local media and security officials, the deaths occurred as a result of shootouts between security forces and the suspected drug dealers during the nation-wide raid.

Spokesman for the Rapid Action Battalion, Mufti Mahmud Khan told AP, that security officials had cordoned off part of Dhaka's Mohammedpur area on Saturday, 26 May and detained at least 100 suspects. The area, which is locally called Geneva Camp, is a crammed slum and is known as one of the most notorious spots for the selling of illegal drugs in Dhaka.

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The country's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has alleged that many of its leaders and activists have been targeted by the security agencies in the name of curbing the illegal drug trade. Some families have told local media that plainclothes men picked up some suspects and that they did not return alive.

However, authorities have denied the allegations, saying they're following a policy of zero tolerance in the fight against drugs; adding that many of the suspects have criminal charges against them.

According to the Dhaka Tribune, three suspected drug dealers were killed in a “gunfight” in the city's Bhashantek area in the early hours of the day. A violent firing between their cohorts and Rapid Action Battalion 4 (RAB) members at Dewanpara Lohar Bridge, is said to have led to the deaths.

As per Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sajedul Islam of RAB 4 - Two pistols, two magazines, two bullets and 18,000 yaba pills were recovered from the spot.

Domestic and global human rights groups have condemned the campaign for the alleged extrajudicial killings.

The government has a duty to ensure law and order, but must order its forces to do so in a rights respecting manner. The authorities should order an impartial and time-bound inquiry into these killings during the crackdown on drug dealers and prosecute any police or (Rapid Action Battalion) member if they violated domestic and international laws
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York based Human Rights Watch criticising the deaths. 

Obaidul Quader, a close aide to Hasina and the ruling party's general secretary, said Saturday that the suspects have died in "shootouts," and that the killings should not be termed as extrajudicial.

The crackdown which is expected to continue for a few more weeks. The anti-drug campaign began amid concern in Bangladesh about the spread of "yaba" pills, especially among youths.

(With inputs from AP and Dhaka Tribune)

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