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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora