Heavy drive launched to rescue 36 kidnapped fishermen; 14 rescued
Reported by: UNBconnect
Reported on: Aug 16, 2012 01:32 pm
Reported in: National
Bagerhat, Aug 16 (UNB) – Six days after their abduction, members of Rab-8 early Thursday rescued 14 of the 36 kidnapped fishermen following a gunfight with pirates at Narkelbaria in Sharankhola upazila in the Sundarbans East Zone.
Lt Col Faridul Islam, commander of Rab-8 (Barisal), told UNB that they, acting on secret information, launched a drive at a den of pirates at Narkelbaria around 7am.
The gunfight broke out as the pirates, sensing the presence of Rab members, opened fire at the elite force. At one stage, the pirates retreated and managed to escape.
The Rab troops then rescued the 14 fishermen along with two trawlers and seized five firearms including, three pistols and two shotguns from the spot. However, there was no arrest.
Meanwhile, Lt Col Shariful Haque, commander of Mongla coastguard, confirmed that the members of Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force and Rab are also conducting drives in different dens of the pirates.
He said a joint drive by Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force was
launched on Thursday to rescue the 36 fishermen kidnapped by pirates in the Sundarbans East Zone under Sharankhola upazila early Friday.
The members of Coast Guard of Mongla West Zone, Bangladesh Navy of Mongla and Air Force launched the rescue operation at noon.
Shariful Haque said over 300 members of Navy and Coast Guard, led by Coast Guard zonal commander M Saidur Rahman, along with four ships and six speedboats and three mechanised boats were conducting the drive.
Intelligence sources said the Air Force joined the drive with a helicopter.
According to the sources, the joint forces identified dens of the pirates at Dublar Char, Shelar Char, Kalir Char, Pushpakathi and Jwakhali coastal areas of Sundarban east and west zones in Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts.
Earlier, joint forces cordoned off the kidnappers’ dens in different coastal areas, including the Sundarbans.
A gang of armed pirates kidnapped the 36 fishermen along with three trawlers and looted valuables worth about Tk 12 lakh near Fairway Buoya of the Bay in Sharankhola upazila. Five fishermen were also injured by the kidnappers.
A gang of 15-20 robbers of ‘Mortoza Bahini’ attacked over 100 fishermen while they were catching hilsa in 10 trawlers.
Before leaving the spot, the robbers kidnapped the 36 fishermen along with three trawlers and demanded a ransom of Tk 50,000 for the release of each of the fisherman. They threatened to kill the fishermen if their demand goes unheeded within a week.
The kidnapped fishermen hailed from different areas of Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna, Bhola and Patuakhali districts.