Bangladesh charging over 1,000 BDR mutineers

March 1st, 2009 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 1 (DPA) Authorities in Bangladesh were levelling charges against more than a thousand troopers Sunday, three days after a mutiny in the headquarters of paramilitary border guards left scores of army officers dead, officials said.
Police commander Nabo Jyoti Kisha lodged the charges against troopers led by six junior officers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) force, accusing them of rebellion against their commanders.

The charges accuse the troopers of premeditation in the murder of army officers and their spouses with firearms and explosives.

The BDR soldiers are also accused of hostage-taking, as well as attempting to dispose of the bodies of their victims by fire, burying them in mass grave and dumping them into sewage.

“The plaintiff named six of the accused while 1,000 more are unnamed,” police spokesman Tariqul Islam said.

Bangladesh has decided to enact new legislation in order to prosecute the mutineers in a speedy trial.

The rescue teams Sunday were still searching for some 72 officers still missing.

The death toll in the rebellion rose to 73, when a body was recovered from a drain outside the headquarters complex Sunday.

The officers were attending an annual conference at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles force in central Dhaka, when they were taken hostage by the rebels.

Wednesday’s mutiny ended late Thursday with the surrender of the mutineers, 35 hours after rebel soldiers opened fire on their officers at an annual meeting to allow soldiers to air grievances.

Several hundred enlisted men, enraged over a pay dispute and alleged repression and corruption by the commanders of the 67,000-strong force, took the officers hostage.

Bangladesh has now been observing three days of mourning since Friday.

On Sunday parliament also unanimously adopted a condolence motion in the presence of the Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina Wazed and the Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia.

Meanwhile, several thousand paramilitary soldiers returned to the headquarters in response to a government call to report for duty after having fled their stations.

The returnees claim not to have been involved in the mutiny.

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