At the early age of 17, Mohammad Apu began working at a cosmetics store to support his family after his father left a couple of years ago.
Despite struggles, he and his family were living contentedly at his grandmother’s house in Kamrangichar in Jaulahati area.
But the family’s future suddenly turned bleak on Friday evening.
As Apu was trying to mediate a dispute between two rival groups of teenagers at Jhawchar “Seven-up” playground, one of the groups launched an attack, led by one Sanju and one Ibrahim, with bamboo sticks.
During the clash, Apu was hit on the head and instantly fell to the ground, witnesses said.
He was rushed to a local hospital with a critical head injury and was later taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Around 7:30pm, DMCH doctors declared him dead.
Police and Apu’s friends said the fights began over playing cricket on the field that morning. Some teens from one of the gangs suddenly started beating up one boy — Shamin. Apu and some other boys then went to the playground around 6:00pm to calm the situation and then the attack was launched.
Shamim, 17, and Shihab, 16, were also injured in the incident.
Apu’s mother Parul Begum filed a murder case naming Sanju and Ibrahim along with 10-12 unnamed people with Kamrangirchar Police Station. Police took two teenagers, who were not accused, in custody for interrogation.
Hailing from Brahmanbaria, Apu was the second among his three siblings.
Shock took hold of his family when they learned about their son’s tragic demise at the DMCH.
“Bury me with my son’s body of or else bring him back… How will I live now? Give me an answer,” Parul cried out.
Mostafizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Kamrangirchar Police Station, said they were trying to arrest the killers.
A police officer, preferring anonymity, said the killing took place over establishing turf control in the area by teenage gangs.
“The gang led by Apu had been in conflict with on led by another teenager named Saddam for a while now. Ibrahim and Sanju are members of Saddam’s gang,” he said.
Locals and police said several teenage gangs were active in the area.
On July 15, another 17-year-old boy named Sajib was brutally killed by a rival teenage gang in Rasulpur of the same area.
According to media reports, the recent spike in teen-gang violence has apparently become a major concern for law enforcement agencies as more than a dozen teenagers have been killed over the last four months by the juvenile offenders across the country.