“They (alleged robbers) were killed in encounters with us,” Khulna’s police superintendant Habibur Rahman said.
Two of the bandits were killed during the first encounter and 11 others were detained at Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
All the deceased were members of a robbers gang, locally known as ‘Kashem Bahini’, said Abdul Khalek, second officer of Paikgachha Police Station.
The two robbers were trying to abduct a college teacher at Jirbunia in the upazila town.
The duo was handed over to the law enforcers. When police were taking them to the police station, their cohorts opened fire targeting the law enforcers, triggering a ‘gunfight’ that left the two bandits dead on the spot.
Police detained 11 other robbers from the scene and took them to Kalabogi near the Sundarbans to conduct a raid. Seeing the police, the other gang members shot at the cops. The police retaliated, prompting a 45-minute gunfight.
While trying to escape, the 11 detainees came in the line of fire and died on the spot, the police official said.
Police recovered 34 bullets from Paikgachha while 17 guns, 57 bullets and a trawler in Dakop upazila.
Air force helicopters were engaged to track down pirates locations as navy, coastguard and elite anticrime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) boats scoured the channels that criss-crossed the Sundarbans, which is long been known as a haven for several pirate groups.
Officials at that time their campaign was aimed at not only to rescue the fishermen, but also flush out pirates from the Sundarbans, a large part of which is in Indian Territory.