News

    Bangladesh Agrees to Pardon Rebel Border Guards if They End Mutiny 

    Bangladesh's government is granting amnesty to mutinous border guards in exchange for them agreeing to peacefully return to their barracks. Bangladeshi media say several civilians were killed and two army colonels died in the early stage of the mutiny by the paramilitary group The Bangladesh Rifles. 

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quickly stepped in to try to defuse her first crisis since returning to power two months ago.  She agreed to pardon border guards who rebelled earlier in the day, clashing with their army commanders at the Dhaka headquarters of the para-military force.

    Speaking to reporters in Dhaka, one of the rebel representatives, identified as Bangladesh Rifles deputy assistant director Touhid, confirms a tentative deal has been made to end the mutiny.

    Touhid says the rebels will surrender their weapons on Thursday because the prime minister has agreed to look into their demands.

    A government spokesman tells VOA News that in exchange for a promise to end the mutiny, the rebels will not be charged and their grievances will be addressed in phases.

    The border guards are demanding better pay and the removal of army officers from command of the Bangladesh Rifles, known as the BDR.

    The agreement came after 14 rebels went to the prime minister's official residence for negotiations while gunshots continued to ring out at the BDR compound.

    The army had earlier surrounded the campus-like BDR headquarters.  Gunfire and occasional mortar blasts could be heard for several hours. 

    The mutiny threw part of Bangladesh's capital into panic, schoolchildren were trapped inside the compound as the army and border guards exchanged fire.  A nearby shopping center was also reported to have been seized by mutineers.

    Analysts point out that the BDR paramilitary force has long felt aggrieved that their commanders are solely composed of officers sent from the army. But research fellow Sreeradha Datta at India's Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses says this type of mutiny by the BDR appears unprecedented.

    "Despite the fact that Bangladesh has a history of coups and counter-coups and there are obviously some very strong fissures in the services, especially the army," said Sreeradha Datta. "But BDR, I do not recall any such incident in the past."

    The paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles force is primarily tasked with protecting the South Asian nation's borders.  It traces its history back to the late 18th century, in British colonial times.  It has more than 65,000 personnel.  

    Prime Minister Hasina visited the BDR headquarters Tuesday to urge the troops to increase their discipline and remain vigilant to guard the country's borders.

    Ms. Hasina, who was prime minister from 1996 to 2001, returned to power after a peaceful election in late December, succeeding a military-backed interim government.

    The mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles prompted India to heighten an alert along the shared 4,000-kilometer border.

    The director-general of India's Border Security Force, Mahendra Lal Kumawat, says no incidents have been reported.

    "We have asked our officers and men to remain fully alert, vigilant and watch the situation along the border and take appropriate action in case action is needed," said Mahendra Lal Kumawat.

    The external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee, told reporters the mutiny is an internal matter of Bangladesh but India wishes her neighbor all success in dealing with it.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora