Archive for Monday, March 2, 2009

1,000 border guards charged in mutiny

March 2, 2009

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— More than 1,000 border guards were charged Sunday with murder and arson in an uprising that left at least 148 people dead or missing, most of them army officers whose bodies were hurriedly discarded by the mutineers.

The details of what the prime minister called “a planned massacre” emerged after the government withdrew its promise of amnesty and sought to repair its increasingly tense relations with the military.

One man, among just 33 officers known to have escaped from the two-day siege in the guards’ headquarters, described the scene as “like doomsday for me.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with military officials furious that she offered amnesty to the mutinous border guards to persuade them to surrender. The officers argued that lives could have been saved if Hasina had ordered an army assault on the guards’ compound.

Hasina told Parliament she had asked for help from the FBI to investigate.

“We’ll definitely unearth everything,” she said.

The government announced that those directly responsible would not fall under the amnesty.

Firefighters have recovered 77 bodies, but at least 71 officers were still unaccounted for in the uprising at the Bangladesh Rifles border force headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.

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