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Bangladesh Anti-Drugs Campaign: At least 86 Killed, 7,000 Arrested

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At least 86 people were killed and 7,000 arrested in Bangladesh after police launched a crackdown on drug trafficking this month, officials said.


In further details, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of ya ba, as methamphetamine worth an estimated $3 bn annually.

The drug is sourced from Myanmar's northeast and smuggled into neighboring Bangladesh and the attempts to tackle the problem have prompted fears from rights activists of a Philippines-style war on drugs.

"In recent times, drug dealing has increased and we feel that people should be alert and motivated to act against it," said Devdas Bhattacharya, a senior police official. "The process will continue until it's eradicated totally".

He said police arrested six people on Sunday, including a 12-year-old boy from Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim community, who had carried 3,350 ya ba tablets to the capital, Dhaka.

Bangladesh said an influx last year of Rohingya fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar is partly to blame for soaring methamphetamine use. But many Rohingya say their young people are being pushed into crime because they cannot legally work or, in many cases, get access to aid.

The 86 deaths occurred when police defended themselves in confrontations with suspected drug traffickers, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a director of the police Rapid Action Battalion.

"It's their legal right to save themselves from the attack," Khan said.

Human rights activists are worried the Bangladesh campaign is taking a page from the Philippine drugs war, in which thousands of people have been killed in the past two years.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team