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Custodial deaths to be probed- RAB being built up like FBI: DG

Monday August 09 2004 00:30:34 AM BDT

The Rapid Action Battalion, an elite force to control criminals and crimes, is being built up like the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) armed with latest training and logistics, says its chief, reports UNB.

“We are trying to build up the RAB from the concept of FBI in America which earned a reputation in detecting crime and combating terrorism,” Anwarul Iqbal, the battalion’s director general, told a meeting with reporters in the RAB headquarters at Uttara on Sunday.

The crime-combat force was raised through a government order issued on March 1, but it went into operation from June 21. The RAB collects information and evidences before going for action against criminals, he said.

By now, the storm troopers are active almost across the country under seven administrative units of the battalion, with each unit numbered as RAB-1, RAB-2 and so on. The force at present has 5,521 members and 3,183 of them already have completed special training on combat against crime.

“All the members of the force are specialized in particular area as well as they are well trained. We also want to make it mandatory for all RAB members to be self-driving and capable of operating computer in line with demand of the time,” the DG said.

Narrating the successes of the RAB, Anwarul Iqbal said they arrested at least 646 persons, including two top terrors. One of the top terrors, Pichchi Hannan, was gunned down while trying to flee from their custody in the early hours of Friday.

Seven people have allegedly been killed in RAB custody and its DG Anwarul Iqbal, an additional inspector general of police, said all the incidents would accordingly be investigated. And if there be anything wrong, “necessary action will be taken”.

The RAB, which was raised by amending rules and regulations of the Armed Police Battalion (APBn), is vested with the power of investigation. “We also will look after three international airports especially to check women and child trafficking as well as detect fake passports,” said the DG.

He said that RAB would go for digital telecommunications network soon. “Elite force RAB also will discharge its duty during the upcoming SAARC summit to ensure the safety and security of the dignitaries like top leaders of the SAARC countries,” he added.

Anwarul Iqbal said their task of controlling law and order would be more effective if they got cooperation from the people as well as the media. Pointing out lack of arms and ammunition and modern transport for the force, he said some arms would be given to them from the biggest arms haul in Chittagong.

“Now we don’t have enough arms--we are conducting our function with arms borrowed from army and police,” he told the journalists.

The Rapid Action Battalion comprises forces drawn from six agencies--Army, Navy, Airforce, BDR, Police and Ansar. Coastguard will also be included in the RAB. Present during the press meet were RAB officials Lieutenant Colonel Fazlul Bari, Lt Col Hafizur Rahman, additional DIG Hasan Mahmood Khandker, Lt Col Aminul Islam, Lt Col Mirza Ejajur Rahman, commander Saber Sharif, Major Rafiqul Islam and Captain Nasim and Captaion Osmani.



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