21 Bangladeshi fishermen killed in pirate attack

Dhaka, April 2: At least 21 Bangladeshi fishermen have been killed and ten others were missing after they were tied up and thrown into the deep sea by pirates in the Bay of Bengal, officials said on Tuesday.

The bodies of the fishermen were found floating 32 kilometres east off the island of Kutubdia of Cox's Bazaar District at a site where vessels anchor. Three fishing trawlers were caught up in attack by pirates at sea on March 25. Some of the dead bodies started surfacing at sea Monday.
So far 21 corpses of missing fishermen have been found, according to a Navy official. "The Navy and the coast guard have started the operation in light of the current situation," said Lt Commander Mohammad Yusuf in charge of the coast guard's operation in Chittagong.

He was referring to that increased pirate activity. M Suhail, Director of of Bangladesh Navy's intelligence unit has confirmed the news of the operation.

"There were reportedly 34 fishermen on board the three vessels, three of the attack's survivors have claimed. According to the fishermen 10 more are still missing," he was quoted by BD News as saying.

"We are directing our search with that in mind. There is a special operation to catch those responsible as well. Every vessel is being searched," Suhail said.

Chittagong District Additional Police Superintendent Mohammad Iltutmish said that local fishermen recovered three bodies from the sea last evening.

The special operation by Bangladesh Navy and Coast Guard to find bodies of dead fishermen and resist pirates led to the recovery of 18 corpses on Tuesday.

There were conflicting reports as to whether there were 34 fishermen who had gone missing in the attack or there were 36 fishermen who were assaulted by pirates.

"They threw 36 fishermen into the sea onboard three fishing trawlers on Friday tying their hands and legs...we demand intensified patrols by the navy and Coastguard," Kutubdia Fishing Trawler Association general secretary Mohammad Joynal Abedin said.

Bangladesh authorities said they had rescued at least 60 fishermen abducted by pirates in the Bay of Bengal, but attempts by naval and air forces to crack down on criminal activity at sea have proved futile.

"The bodies were recovered by joint team of navy and coastguard as fishermen reported they saw them floating in the sea," coastguard's region commander Mohammad Kawsar said.

He said searches were underway for more bodies as the fishermen reported they saw several bodies were still floating in the sea near Kutubdia and Banshkhali coast. Five Navy vessels along with six speed boats were taking part in the operation.

The Coast Guard was also providing them support with their vessels. Fishermen associations and boat owners often report pirate attacks off the Bangladesh coast to robe the boats along with captured fish but Kutubdia Fishing Trawler Association general secretary Mohammad Joynal Abedin said the incidents of piracy rose in recent weeks.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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