Saturday, December 17, 2011

5 abducted, missing for 10 days

The five youths, who were abducted from Maligram Bazar of Bhanga upazila in the district on December 6, remain traceless. 

A group of six, claiming themselves as personnel of Detective Branch of Police, picked them up in a white microbus around 2:30pm that day, witnesses said. 

The abducted youths are Rubel Kha, 18, Belayet Kha, 23, Kiyum Munshi, 32, Sobhan Kha, 19, and Fayez Hawlader, 23 -- all from Atra Bhasra village of Kala Mridah union. Rubel was a madrasa student while the four others were unemployed, their family members said. 

Two days after the abduction, Sobhan's father Anwar Kha filed a case with Bhanga Police Station. Ten days on, police have yet to catch the kidnappers. They, however, arrested two local youths -- Kamal and Faruk -- for interrogation.

Incidents of disappearance, abduction and subsequent killing across the country have risen sharply of late.

Over the last few days, Munshiganj police recovered seven bodies amid allegations that some of them had been picked up by plainclothes personnel of law enforcement agencies. 

Fishermen in Barguna on December 11 came across at least seven bodies floating in the deep sea, about 160 km southeast of Pathorghata upazila in the district.

Meanwhile, family members of the Faridpur victims at a press conference on Thursday said they were frustrated at the police failure in rescuing their boys. They demanded that the police "act faster". 

Rafiqul Islam, nephew of Rubel Kha, said at the press conference that one Nirob of Algadia village under Nagarkanda upazila called Sobhan over the phone around 2:30pm on December 6, asking him to go to Maligram Bazar. 

As Sobhan along with Rubel, Belayet and Fayez reached there, the gang hustled the four in a microbus.
Informed by Fayez over the phone, Kiyum, accompanied by Asad Sikder, rushed to the scene to rescue them, Rafiqul added. 

But they, too, were forced in the microbus, Asad, who was dropped near Bakhunda on Dhaka-Barisal highway two hours later, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Aged around 35, the six kidnappers, including the driver, were wearing black coats, Asad said, adding that the microbus drove towards Faridpur town. 

On picking them up, he said, the abductors blindfolded all but him. When he protested and demanded to be released, the kidnappers punched him in the face and other parts of the body. 

Asad, a rural medical practitioner, claimed the kidnappers freed him as he pleaded for his life.
Rubel's mother Rashida Begum told reporters that the abductors demanded Tk 10 lakh in ransom for the five, which they could not manage.

Dadon Fakir, officer-in-charge of Bhanga Police Station, said the missing youths might be members of local groups that cheat people over the phone, and that they might have been kidnapped by rival groups.
Victims' family members, however, said their boys were never involved with those groups.

Locally known as "Welcome Party", members of these groups call people identifying themselves as officials of mobile phone operators. They then tell the receiver that he has won a lottery. But to get the prize money, he should send a certain amount of money to a certain mobile number.

On receiving the money, the gang, which has been operating in the area for several years, sells the SIM card to telephone recharge shops, police said.

Contacted for comments about the abduction, Additional Superintendent of Police of Faridpur Bijoy Basak said, "We've names of four people, including Nirob, who might be involved in the abduction. We're trying our best to arrest them."