Army tanks rolled into Dhaka Thursday afternoon and took positions
outside the headquarters of Bangladesh's border force following a call
by Prime Minister Sheik Hasina for rebels inside to lay down their
weapons. The government and the army are in a second day of attempting
to quell a mutiny by the paramilitary soldiers which spread outside the
capital. Although there has been no official death toll some officials
say they believe more than 50 people have died in the violence which
began Wednesday morning.
As the mutiny of Bangladesh border
guards re-ignited with fresh reports of uprisings outside the capital,
the country's prime minister, Sheik Hasina, took to the airwaves with a
stern appeal to the mutineers not to take a "suicidal" route.
a nationally broadcast address, the prime minister promised to look
into the grievances of the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles. Thus, they
should surrender their weapons and return to their barracks. If they
did not, Sheik Hasina warned, she would be forced to take "tough
action" in the interest of the nation.
The mutiny began early
Wednesday at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles in Dhaka. The
clash left dead a number of their Army officer supervisors, apparently
slain by the rebel soldiers.
The paramilitary border force has
tens of thousands of guards, who are posted at 64 camps throughout
Bangladesh. The rebels say they resent having Army officers always
appointed as their commanders and want better pay in wake of rising
Reports of guards firing their weapons along the
border with India prompted fresh concern here. India and Bangladesh
share a four-thousand kilometer long border that is porous and poorly
demarcated in some places.
India's home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, says the the country's Border Security Force - the BSF - will remain vigilant.
don't think that the BDR-Army dispute in Bangladesh will spill over
into our border. Our BSF is on the alert and there is no threat on the
border," said Chidambaram.
Mobile phone operators in Bangladesh
say they were ordered Thursday by the government to switch off service
except in some areas of the capital. That is apparently an attempt to
keep rebelling guard units around the country from communicating with