The mystery of the huge weapons cache found in a canal in Dhaka’s Uttara has yet to be solved two-and-a-half years since it was discovered. “Those involved with a quarter responsible for domestic and foreign conspiracies, stored the weapons there,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police Chief Asaduzzaman Mia had said after the incident in 2016.
There has been no visible attempt to solve the mystery either. Law enforcers have failed to unearth the source of these arms or their destination.
Despite the mention of ’national and international conspiracies’, no case has been filed over the stash. The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Bangladesh Police are investigating the incident based on a general diary (GD) filed by police with the Turag Police Station at that time.
“The investigation could not find much,” Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit chief Monirul Islam told bdnews24.com on Friday.
“Police believe that a gang of criminals may have dumped the weapons there as it was not safe for them to store the arms. We are investigating the matter and hope we can solve the mystery,” he said.
A total of 13 travel bags carrying shotguns, SMG magazines, bullets, bayonets, explosive gel, walkie-talkies and several electric devices were recovered in three phases on Jun 18, 19 and 25 in 2016 from the Diabari canal at the 16 no sector of Uttara.
The recovery of arms from the canal had sparked a flurry of excitement across the country in that time due to the continuous attacks and murders committed by extremist group in Bangladesh.
In a briefing organised at the media office of police in Dhaka, DMP chief Md Asaduzzaman Mia had said that: “It is not a matter of ordinary criminals.”
The DMP chief also indicated that the alliance of BNP and Jamaat was connected to the cache, stating that the weapons are ’brand new and unused’.
He had said that the members of the group were planning to use the arms to kill women and children.
The BNP, on the other hand, said the government had instructed the weapons to be dumped their as part of a plot.
The carnage at Holey Artisan café in Gulshan rocked Bangladesh a week after the third round of arms haul in Diyabari canal. Later, the story of the weapons cache gradually faded in the media.
On Jun 18 a total of 97 pistols, 462 magazines, 1,060 bullets, 10 bayonets, 180 rods used for cleaning firearms, and 104 IED boxes with springs were recovered from seven travel bags, according to the GD.
The next day, Jun 19, 32 magazines and eight cleaning rods were retrieved.
On Jun 25, the police recovered three bags containing five walkie-talkies, two large radios, two feeder cables, 22 covered plastic jars of various sizes, rods of various sizes, crystals, transistors, capacitors, registers, circuits, small electronic devices, explosive gel, 55 silver boxes attached with springs, 270 green boxes with springs, and some other electronic devices.
At the time police said that Constable Shahidul Islam of Dakkhinkhan police station had noticed the caches of arms while he had gone out there with his wife and children on Jun 18.
He noticed a black SUV car and a group of five unknown people around the canal. He suspected that someone was disposing of a body and rushed away and informed the Turag police of the matter over the phone.
When police went to the spot, the vehicles were gone, but they found the bags.
Fire service divers conducted an operation at the canal and recovered three bags containing a huge cache of arms and ammunitions later that day. Six days later another three bags were found in the lake a kilometre away.
“Recovered arms and other materials were stored at the Rajarbag armoury following instructions from a Dhaka court, police officer Mahbube Khuda told bdnews24.com.
As to why no case has been filed in this connection, Turag police chief Nurul Muttakin said that a GD is filed when weapons are found, but are not in anyone’s possession.
A case will be filed when suspects are identified, he said.