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Dhaka revamps intelligence set-up

A retired Bangladesh Army brigadier general will head one of the premier intelligence agencies of the country as part of the revamp spurred by last month's mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers.

world Updated: Mar 17, 2009 13:34 IST

A retired Bangladesh Army brigadier general will head one of the premier intelligence agencies of the country as part of the revamp spurred by last month's mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers.

The government Monday appointed Brig. Gen. Manzur Ahmed (retd) as the new chief of the National Security Intelligence (NSI), replacing Maj Gen Shaikh Monirul Islam.

Manzur Ahmed has been given a two-year contractual appointment to run the NSI, it was officially announced.

Gen Monirul Islam will become the director general of the government think-tank Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.

Political analysts said the changes were due after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office in January after the December election.

The mutiny that led to over 80 people, mostly Bangladesh Army officers, being killed, has been attributed to intelligence failure. The border guards' mutiny took place on Feb 25-26 over low wages and poor working conditions.

The government last week changed chiefs of the Special Branch and the Criminal Intelligence Department of the police.

The government's concern found its echoes in the words of Sheikh Hasina on Monday who directed the intelligence agencies to work in a coordinated way to thwart recurrence of incidents like the massacre at the BDR headquarters.

The directives came at a regular cabinet meeting, The Daily Star said.

Most cabinet members mentioned lack of coordination and sharing of information among the intelligence wings as the major reason for the failure in preventing almost all major untoward incidents starting from the killing of the country's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to last month's BDR mutiny.

Hasina also directed the intelligence agencies to share information with each other for the sake of country's security and its people.

"Our intelligence wings function without maintaining any sort of communication with each other. One agency remains in the dark about the other. That's why the prime minister has directed them to work in a coordinated way and share information," a senior minister told the newspaper after the meeting, requesting anonymity.

The minister said the prime minister is planning to reorganise the activities of the intelligence wings gradually.

Bangladesh has five intelligence agencies - National Security Intelligence, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Special Branch and Detective Branch of the police.