Friday, February 27, 2009

New Bangladesh mass grave found

BBC on-line
February 28

A second mass grave has been found in Bangladesh at the scene of a mutiny by border guards this week which left at least 100 people dead.

The army made the discovery in the border guards' compound in the capital, Dhaka, as they continued the search for dozens of missing officers.

They had found the first grave, thought to hold the bodies of 58 officers killed by the mutineers, on Friday.

The government says there will be no amnesty for the perpetrators.

"We have found another mass grave. This one is in a garden. It's in a corner and well-hidden," fire service operations chief Sheikh Mohammad Shahjalal told AFP news agency.

"We have just started digging and have removed two dead bodies but we are sure there are more. We are not sure how many," he said.

The remains of 70 officers are still unaccounted for.

Lt Gen MA Mubin, the army's second-in-command, said the killers would be punished.

"The BDR [Bangladesh Rifles] troops who took part in these barbaric and grisly acts cannot be pardoned and will not be pardoned," he said in a televised address, AFP reported.

"They will be given exemplary and quick punishment by a special tribunal. The martyrs will be buried with state honours."

Late on Friday, the head of Bangladesh's armed forces pledged support for the government, despite reports of discontent among the military about the way the government had handled the mutiny.

Gen Moin U Ahmed spoke after talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.

Some officers have said the government should have quelled the mutiny by elements of the BDR by force, not talks, arguing this might have saved the lives of some of their colleagues.

Under arrest

They also said they were angry that the government had initially offered the mutineers an amnesty.

However, the government later declared that the men responsible for the deaths would be punished.

"No-one has the right to kill anyone," Sheikh Hasina was later reported as saying.

At least 200 suspected mutineers have been arrested. They were held while trying to escape dressed in civilian clothes from the barracks.

The mutiny was reportedly triggered by a spontaneous row over pay and conditions, although some officials say the revolt may have been planned.

Three days of official mourning began on Friday and will end at midnight on Sunday.

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