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Bangladesh Intelligence Officer Killed in Myanmar Border Drugs Bust

Injured Rapid Action Battalion member Sohel Barua was taken to Cox’s Bazar district hospital on Monday night. / The Irrawaddy

DHAKA – A Bangladeshi air force helicopter pilot and a Rohingya woman were killed during a drug-smuggling operation on Myanmar’s border in hilly Bandarban district on Monday.

Squadron Leader Rizwan Rushdi of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) was abducted by an armed group linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and his body was later handed to the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Naikhangchhari, according to security sources.

Rohingya leaders said Sajeda Begum, 20, was caught in a crossfire. A seriously injured Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) member, Sohel Barua, was treated at nearby Cox’s Bazar district hospital.

Dr Ashikur Rahman of the hospital said Barua had been transferred to Dhaka.

Intelligence sources said the operation targeted ARSA-backed drug smugglers in Tambru along the border on Monday evening.

Firing broke out and Rushdi, who was working undercover, was abducted, the sources said.

His body was handed over to Bangladeshi border forces on Monday night.

The Bangladeshi authorities said in a statement: “During the clash with drug smugglers, an officer embraced martyrdom by sacrificing his life for the country and a RAB member was injured.”

No questions were answered by the authorities.

Major General Nayeem Ashfaque Chowdhury, a retired specialist on Rohingya issues, told The Irrawaddy that it was surprising that Rushdi was killed during an operation and questioned how it happened.

“A DGFI officer is supposed to share or collect information. The border is the BGB’s jurisdiction. The operation should be assessed by the overall commander,” said Nayeem, a former operations director.

Arsa has made no comment.