200 BDR rebels held,Hasina says no amnesty for them

Two hundred renegade Bangladesh Rifles personnel,who were part of the mutiny over pay hike that turned the capital into a battle zone....

Written by Press Trust Of India | Dhaka | Published: February 28, 2009 1:05:52 am

Two hundred renegade Bangladesh Rifles personnel,who were part of the mutiny over pay hike that turned the capital into a battle zone,were arrested after a nationwide manhunt on Friday.

The rebellion ended on Thursday night after tanks surrounded the huge complex in central Dhaka in a show of force to intimidate and force surrender by the mutineers.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said a probe will be ordered into the incident,notwithstanding a general amnesty for rebels announced earlier. However,rebel soldiers directly involved in the killings would not be pardoned,the Prime Minister said.

“Two hundred BDR personnel have been arrested from different parts of the city as they fled their barracks… despite orders to stay back inside the headquarters,” a Rapid Action Battalion official said. “We have been given orders to arrest the mutineers… we are searching buses and trucks for any other rebel troops and checkpoints have been erected at all intersection,” said RAB spokesperson Commander Abul Kalam Azad.

A search was carried out at the BDR headquarters,which bore the maximum damage with the main meeting halls marked by bullets holes. Police said they found grenades and automatic assault rifles scattered all over the complex.

“An investigation into the incident will be launched,” Hasina told reporters after visiting the Combined Military Hospital to inquire about officers who were injured during the mutiny. “It appears that not all BDR soldiers were involved in the killings,” said the PM. “Possibly one particular group carried out the massacre with a heinous motive,” she said. Hasina,however,said negotiations were underway to “cool down the rebels”.

Hasina visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) to meet the officers,who were injured during the mutiny. She later visited the Mirpur Cantonment at the city outskirts to express her solidarity with the family members of the officers.

Meanwhile,Jahangir Kabir Nanok,a key negotiator with the rebels,on Friday alleged that the mutiny was the outcome of a well-planned conspiracy,claiming that the basis of the allegation was his talks with rebels. A lot of money was used to implement it,Nanok claimed.

Bangladesh will observe a three-day national mourning to pay homage to the army officials killed in the mutiny.

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