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Asia-pacific

Army arrests suspected mutiny 'ringleader'

Video by Nicolas RUSWORTH

Latest update : 2009-03-04

Bangladesh's security forces claimed on Tuesday to have arrested Touhidul Alam, the "ringleader" behind a mutiny by border troops that has left at least 56 border guards dead. Four other mutineers were arrested in relation to the case.

REUTERS -Bangladesh's elite force on Tuesday detained the suspected mastermind of last week's deadly mutiny, which killed at least 56 army officers, security officials said.
 
Four other paramilitary troops were also detained for alleged involvement in the rebellion by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) border guards, the Rapid Action Battalion's (RAB) A.K. Azad told reporters.
 
The rebellion by paramilitary troops over pay and the command structure was put down within two days, but highlighted the challenges facing the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who took charge only two months ago.
 
The mutiny by border guards spread to a dozen smaller towns across Bangladesh.
 
"Five people, including Touhidul Alam, a deputy assistant director of Bangladesh Rifles, have been arrested at Hazaribagh, near the BDR headquarters where the mutiny started on Wednesday," Azad said.
 
Touhidul had led a team of mutineers for talks with Hasina on Wednesday where he promised to persuade his men to lay down their arms.
 
But the mutineers did not give up until Thursday evening when army troops moved into the BDR complex. Security officials said by that time most BDR troops in the complex had escaped.
 
The hunt for other BDR mutineers was continuing and making progress, Azad said, without giving details.
 
"Touhid is the suspected mastermind, as his name was mentioned first among the accused in the first information report," police inspector Nobo Jhouti Khisa told reporters.
 
Troops have fanned out across the country to hunt fugitive mutineers and Sheikh Hasina has ordered special tribunals to try the killers.
 
Police have identified more than 1,000 BDR men for their suspected role in the mutiny, including the five held on Tuesday.
 
The paramilitary BDR is mainly responsible for guarding the borders and traditionally commandered by officers drawn from the army.
 
Bangladesh has suffered several military coups since independence in 1971 but officials have said last week's mutiny was not politically motivated.
 
Analysts hoped Hasina would be able to achieve political stability needed to attract aid and investment, and fight poverty in this country of more than 140 million people.
 

Date created : 2009-03-03

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