A total of twenty abducted hilsa fishermen were freed on Thursday, six days after being abducted by pirates on August 11, following a combined operation by joint forces that resulted in a gunfight between law enforcers and suspected pirates at Narkelbaria area under Sundarban east zone.
Law enforcers, however, were unable to arrest any of the pirates during the drive.
Acting on secret information, coastguard west zone, Bangladesh Navy, Air Force with helicopter and Rapid Action Battalion jointly launched the drive in a large area from around 5:30am, including Keyar Char, Shelar Char, Narkelbaria and Kayra under Sundarban west and east zones, said officials of Coastguard west zone.
They said that when joint forces reached the east side of Narkelbaria, the pirates of Sagar Bahini, sensing the presence of law enforcers, opened fire to which law enforcers responded to by firing back.
During the gunfight, law enforcers fired 90 ammunitions. The pirates however left the area and managed to flee into deep forest, Coast Guard west zone commander M Saidur Rahman told New Age.
The gunfight was over by 2:00pm and they searched the area, rescuing four fishermen. During the operation, 16 other fishermen were freed by the pirates, he said.
Saidur added that they also recovered two guns, two ammunitions, one deer horn and other lethal weapons from the area. They also destroyed the pirate’s den.
A total of around 200 law enforcers launched the drive, using six ships, six boats and other water vessels. The rescued fishermen were taken to Kapilmuni in Sundarban from where they would be sent home.
Earlier, joint forces began the drive by cordoning-off the Sundarban forest to prevent the pirates from fleeing.
On August 11, a gang of armed pirates attacked hilsa fishermen and kidnapped around 40 other fishermen along with three trawlers and looted valuables worth about Tk 12 lakh from near Fairway Buoya of the Bay of Bengal under Sharankhola in Bagerhat.
They had demanded Tk one lakh as ransom to free each of the fishermen.
-With New Age input