The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested eight pirates, including the kingpin of the notorious pirate group known as "Asabur Bahini", and recovered a significant amount of arms and ammunition.
The arrests were made during a special drive conducted in Dakop and Mongla EPZ areas of Khulna on Saturday (12 August) night, RAB's Legal and Media Wing Director Khandaker Al Moin told the media on Sunday (13 August).
The detainees were identified as Asabur Sana, 43, Md Shariful Dhali, 37, Md Shahin Sana, 27, Md Israfil Sana, 27, Md Shafiqul Islam, 30, Md Rakib Faraji, 22, Sohan Mridha, 19, and Md Akbar Ali Sheikh, 25. All eight of them are residents of different parts of Khulna, Bagerhat, and Narail.
Providing details on the operation during the press conference, Commander Khandaker Al Moin said a group of pirates had abducted several fishermen from Sundarbans' Bhadra River on 23 July and subsequently demanded ransom.
"Following this, RAB-6 orchestrated a mission and arrested five pirates involved in the kidnapping and rescued 14 fishermen. Based on the information provided by the arrested pirates, RAB intelligence surveillance was increased to arrest other pirates.
"In continuation of this, a team of RAB-6 conducted the operation on Saturday night and arrested eight members of Asabur forces. Meanwhile, an array of domestic and foreign weapons and ammunition have been recovered from them," he said.
Preliminary interrogation of the suspects has provided valuable insight into their involvement in piracy, he further said.
As part of the initiative to free Sundarbans from the grip of pirates, RAB has conducted 370 successful operations, leading to the capture of 911 pirates and the retrieval of 2028 weapons along with 42,690 rounds of ammunition.
The RAB official said an additional 328 pirates from 32 separate groups operating within the Sundarbans surrendered, willingly handing over 462 weapons and 22,504 rounds of ammunition between 2016 and November 2018, in response to RAB's initiatives.
Addressing the current state of affairs, the RAB commander claimed that the formation of large-scale pirate forces within the Sundarbans has been effectively curbed since 1 November 2018.
Every time when there is a sporadic attempt at criminal collaboration arises in the area, RAB acts promptly to thwart such efforts, ensuring the ongoing security and well-being of the region.