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Bangladesh Border Guards Returning to Post After Violent Mutiny

Hundreds of paramilitary soldiers have returned to their barracks in Dhaka. Many claim they were not involved in the mutiny at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles, but fled the violence that is believed to have left more than 100 of their commanders dead. Police intend to file murder charges against 1,000 of the paramilitary troops.

The government had given the soldiers of the Bangladesh Rifles until Sunday to report back to duty or face repercussions. Many are returning to their headquarters and posts throughout the country, saying they had no role in the violent mutiny. About 250 members of the border guards, known as the BDR, have been arrested.

Police say they are conducting a nationwide manhunt for more than one thousand BDR mutineers who are to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. 

In Dhaka, the search continues for the bodies of dozens of missing Army officers, killed in the 33-hour revolt last week.

Sheikh Hasina met Sunday with the military. Local media reports there say the meeting, described as emotion-charged, lasted several hours and hundreds of Army officers were present.

Officials and diplomats in Dhaka say the capital remains tense as Bangladesh concluded a three-day period of national mourning. 

Questions are being raised whether the paramilitary mutiny was sparked by a dispute over conditions and poor treatment by the Army, or whether more sinister forces were at work.

There are also concerns a grieving army will feel compelled to take revenge against those it believes responsible for massacre.

Army Brigadier General Mahmud Hossain, who is the director of military intelligence, acknowledged to reporters there is "pent-up anger" in the Bangladesh army.

General Hossain says, however, the army is a disciplined force that can control its emotions. But he cautions that their anger is being kept in check by expectations the civilian government will adequately punish the killers.

The government says a special tribunal is to be formed to prosecute those who carried out the massacre.

The crisis comes as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of a national leader who was slain in a military coup, tries to keep the poverty-stricken nation of 140 million from again falling into chaos. She took office less than two months ago following peaceful elections, succeeding a military-backed interim government.


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