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Bangladesh detains 42 troops

world Updated: Mar 07, 2009 20:15 IST

Bangladesh security forces have detained 42 troops suspected of involvement in a mutiny which killed at least 57 army officers at the Dhaka headquarters of a paramilitary unit last month, police said on Saturday.

The detainees included a suspected leader and his four close associates, who were arrested on Tuesday, in the Bangladesh army's "operation rebel hunt".

The rebellion by paramilitary troops over pay and the command structure was put down within two days, but the incident put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who took charge only two months ago.

"Forty-two troops arrested across the country over the past week, following the rebellion at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters on Feb. 25, have been handed over to us," a senior police officer told Reuters.

The mutiny by border guards spread to a dozen smaller towns across Bangladesh.

The suspected troops will be tried by special tribunals.

Police have identified more than 1,000 BDR troops for their suspected role in the mutiny, including the 42 held so far.

The paramilitary BDR is mainly responsible for guarding the borders and is traditionally controlled 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.

"Have patience, we will give the killers severe punishment after completion of the investigation," Hasina told a state function on Saturday.

(Reporting by Nizam Ahmed)