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2 Bangladesh border guards shot dead by India

Indian Border Security Forces shot dead two Bangladeshi border guards while they were patrolling along the country's northwestern frontier.

world Updated: Jul 18, 2008 14:25 IST

Indian security forces shot dead two Bangladeshi border guards while they were patrolling along the country's northwestern frontier, an official said Friday.

Bangladesh Rifles chief Major General Shakil Ahmed told AFP the two guards suddenly came under attack by the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) at Thursday midnight.

"They were patrolling along the Bangladesh side of the border in the Chapainawabganj district when the BSF men fired at them. Two of our troops died at the spot," Ahmed said

"We've protested the firing. It's serious border violation by the BSF," he said.

India helped Bangladesh win independence from Pakistan in 1971 but relations in recent years have often been soured by border skirmishes for which both sides blame the other.

They share a 4,095-kilometre (2,539-mile) border which is largely unfenced and their frontier guards often exchange gunfire.

Bangladesh says Indian forces regularly shoot its traders and farmers in the border area, with around 100 being killed in 2007. India says most of those killed were smugglers who intruded into its territory.

India frequently accuses Bangladesh of pushing illegal migrants through the border and harbouring militants fighting Indian rule in its northeast. Dhaka says New Delhi allows Bangladeshi criminals to take refuge on its soil.

In 2001, 16 Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers were killed in the deadliest border clash between the two sides.

Last October the border forces' chiefs of the two countries met in Dhaka and agreed to scale down the violence.