Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ctg used as transit point

Notorious criminals have been using Chittagong and its adjoining areas as a major transit point for smuggling illegal arms. They are using the sea-route as well as land borders for this purpose. Of late, explosive and bomb manufacturers have also become active in the port city. According to sources, the country’s law and order situation might take a turn for the worse as cadres of different political groups have been buying small firearms ahead of the next general election. A recent spurt in the use of small firearms have increased the smuggling of such weapons. A group of smugglers sell small weapons and explosives to different terrorist groups in Dhaka, Chittagong and elsewhere in the country. Gangsters prefer small firearms because these are less risky to carry than heavy weapons.
Sources said the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) had unearthed a large stock of sophisticated grenades at Jamiatul Ulum Al Islamia Madrasa in Lalkhan Bazar of the port city on October 7. Following an explosion, the law enforcers rushed to the dormitory of Jamiatul Ulum Al Islamia Madrasa, established by Hefazat-e-Islam nayeb-e-amiri Mufti Izharul Islam, and found huge stocks of hand grenades.
Recently, the police recovered an AK-22, eight cartridges and two magazines from Moijjartek. However, no one was arrested in this connection. CMP additional commissioner Bonoj Kumar Majumdar said: “We’ve recovered an AK-22 for the first time. This is the most modern version of AK-47 and is used in field battles. We’re searching for the owner of the gun. We’re also trying to trace the route through which the gun reached the port city.” Police sources and intelligence agencies suspect that a large contingent of small firearms are dumped in local madrasas.
According to sources, Rohingya and Arakanese are mainly involved in arms smuggling. Around 60 km of open border area at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar is one of the main routes for these activities.
Different smuggling syndicates maintain several offices in Chittagong, Khagrachari, Bandarban, Cox’s Bazar and Dhaka to keep contact with their buyers, including underword dons and terrorist outfits. Of late, their activities have increased alarmingly in Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar districts.
Sources said illegal arms were available in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Rangamati. The syndicates are mostly active in urban and rural areas of Chittagong, interior areas of Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati. Such syndicates are also active in Moheshkhali, Nakhangchhari and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar district. Law enforcement agencies suspect that terrorists are storing illegal arms in the offshore islands of Maheshkhali and Kutubdia. In fact, a modern firearms manufacturing factory was found in the hilly terrains of Maheshkhali island. Sources said militants had set up several camps in the hilly areas for arms training. Several Rohingya organisations are involved in arms smuggling in these areas, they added.
Recently, the home ministry ordered law enforcement agencies to prepare and update a report on the routes through which illegal arms are being smuggled into Bangladesh. The police, RAB and the navy have started operations to unearth arms manufacturing factories on the offshore islands and in other parts of this region.

-With The Independent input

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