Ex-BDR officer confesses over Bangladesh mutiny: Court

A former petty officer in the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles told a court he had led a mutiny in February that killed nearly 80 people, court officials said.

Ex-BDR officer confesses over Bangladesh mutiny: Court

A former petty officer in the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) told a court on Saturday he had led a mutiny in February that killed nearly 80 people, court officials said.

The dead were mostly army officers commanding the BDR during the mutiny over pay, conditions and command structures.

"Deputy Assistant Director Touhid Hossain has confessed before a judiciary magistrate that he had given leadership in the mutiny and instigated troops to revolt," a court official told reporters.

The mutiny began at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka on Feb. 25 and spread to a dozen other towns. It raised fears of further political instability in Bangladesh which has a history of coups and military intervention in politics.

Those killed included BDR chief Major-General Shakil Ahmed and his wife. Nine BDR troops who were believed to have opposed the mutiny were also killed, said the inquiry.

The revolt lasted 33 hours. It ended when the rebels laid down their arms after a television appeal by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who took power in January following an election delayed by two years of rule by an army-backed interim government.

Touhid was arrested in early March. Authorities have detained about 1,500 paramilitary troops for involvement in the mutiny. They said 25 troops were still on the run and have offered a reward of 50,000 taka ($725) for information leading to the arrest of any of the fugitives.

"The confessional statement will help the prosecution to give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators," a prosecution lawyer said.

Hasina told a meeting of her Awami League party on Saturday the trial of the mutineers would begin soon.

The BDR, responsible mainly for guarding Bangladesh's more than 4,000 km (2,500 miles) border with India and Myanmar, was traditionally commanded by officers drawn from the army. The government said in March it would disband the unit.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2009, 19:12
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