By Pei Hu
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
DHAKA, Bangladesh – The Bangladesh military discovered a mass grave in Dhaka holding 66 border guard officers killed by mutinous border guards. Col Rezaul Karim, chief deputy of the elite Rapid Action Battalion force, told AFP “The bodies were buried underground in a makeshift grave near the hospital in the BDR headquarters compound.”
Officials say that at least 50 more people have been killed during the 2-day violent revolt.
Major General Shakil Ahmed, a commander of the Bangladesh Rifles border guards, was one of the dead bodies found inside the border guard compound. Many more guard officers remain missing. Hundreds of mutinous border guards fled after surrendering to the government. The mutinous guards agreed to lay down their weapons after the prime minister vowed to look into their grievances, which include demands for better pay.
Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina sent in military tanks throughout Dhaka to help stabilize the crisis. Bangladeshi authorities arrested 300 border guards believed to take part in the mutiny.
The rebellion happened this past Wednesday after failed negotiations with officials for better benefits for border guards. Border guards are responsible for securing the country’s border and providing backup the country’s army and police. There has been a long standing tension between the government and the border guards who complain they are treated as second class citizens to the Bangladeshi military.
After visiting the Bangladesh Rifles border guard’s compound, a government minister announced that the men responsible for the deaths of border guard officers would not receive the amnesty Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina previously offered. “No one has the right to kill anyone,” the prime minister said.
The Bangladeshi government declared three days of official mourning, beginning Friday and ending on Sunday at midnight.
For more information, please see:
BBC – Bangladesh Troops Find Mass Grave– 27 February 2009
Economic Times – Mass grave discovered at BDR headquarters, 30 bodies recovered– 27 February 2009
VOA – Mass Grave Discovered in Bangladesh Border Guard Compound – 27 February 2009