Dhaka sees terror link in border guards’ mutiny

March 12th, 2009 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 12 (IANS) A senior army officer engaged in investigation and nabbing of Islamist militants was among those killed in last month’s revolt by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers, a media report said Thursday.
Saying that the mutiny bore “the hallmarks of terror attacks”, The Daily Star said that one of the brightest army officers killed was Col. Gulzar Uddin Ahmed, “best known for his efficient detection and operations against Islamist militants and terrorists”.

Some government officials pointed to “elements of terrorism” in the carnage, but all spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“A disciplined force cannot take to such brutality. It appears terror elements were at play,” an official told the newspaper.

The border guards revolted Feb 25-26 over low wages and poor working conditions. The carnage left 74 people dead.

Col. Ahmed had been engaged in anti-militancy operation for some time during which he had successfully handled many cases of activists of banned outfits, including the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (Huji).

The newspaper said Col. Ahmed’s body had been badly mutilated and was wrongly identified initially. His family has been unable to identify his body.

“His body was found mutilated beyond recognition in a grim discovery that parallels a grisly death fed by deep-seated grudge,” the newspaper said.

Sources say the killers smashed his body.

“Some of his relatives were too afraid to see the decomposing, ruined body.”

“Those who saw his body said his eyes might have been gouged out; his spinal cord was broken and his body bears the mark of terrible torture. Apparently, he was killed by gunshots,” the report said.

A family member said his face was bloated. “It was impossible for anyone to recognise him from seeing that face.”

Dwelling on the colonel’s family background, the report said the Pakistani occupation force had taken the life of his civil servant father during the War of Liberation in 1971.

Quoting anonymous officials, the report said: “Some believe `terror elements’ infiltrated the BDR through the route of recruitment in recent years.”

Col. Ahmed was sent on deputation to the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). As a RAB officer, his first sensational case was handling the grenade attack on British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury in May 2004. Ahmed was a member of the government committee formed to investigate the attacks.

In 2005, Ahmed was appointed the head of the Intelligence Unit of RAB from where he took up several major assignments. Of them, the most important was spearheading the investigation and operation against the Islamist militants and terrorists.

Ahmed led the drive against Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorists and succeeded in detecting and arresting the dreaded Bangla Bhai, JMB chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman and their armed followers.

He also spearheaded the drive against Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, one of the largest Islamist militant groups found to be involved in many bomb attacks, including the grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina, now the country’s prime minister.

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