Gunfight between armed groups in Baghaichhari sparks panic

STAFF CORRESPONDENT, RANGAMATI/BAGHAICHHARI CORRESPONDENT

A fierce gunfight between the Santu group of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samghati Samiti (PCJSS) and the Prasit group of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) has erupted in Baghaichhari upazila, Rangamati, causing widespread panic among locals.

The violence began early Tuesday morning in the Dulobonia area of Bangalatali Union and continued sporadically throughout the day. The initial exchange of gunfire occurred on Monday afternoon at Suketan field in the same union.

Local sources say the clashes are a bid for dominance ahead of the upcoming upazila parishad elections.

Witnesses reported that around 1,000 rounds were fired.

While no casualties have been confirmed, bullets have struck homes, damaging furniture and increasing fear among residents.

Baghaichhari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Shirin Akhter confirmed the gunfight.

However, despite reports and images of casualties circulating on social media, law enforcement officials have not yet provided specific details on the number of injured or dead.

Officer-in-Charge of Baghaichhari Police Station Ishtiaq Ahmed said the remote location makes it difficult to gather precise information.

“Law enforcement is closely monitoring the situation,” he added.

The upazila parishad elections are scheduled for May 29.

Candidates began campaigning in earnest after receiving their symbols on Monday.

Although the two major political parties have not fielded candidates, prominent contenders from the two rival regional groups are participating.

Despite efforts by the administration to bolster security, the gunfight has spread panic among the general public.

This gunfight is reminiscent of the tragic events of March 18, 2019, when terrorists killed eight election officials and employees and injured 33 others during the Baghaichhari upazila parishad elections.

No arrests have been made in connection with that attack, even five years later.

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