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Mass grave unearthed in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi soldiers today discovered a mass grave at the BDR complex in Dhaka and recovered bodies of at least 30 army officers, two days after the paramilitary personnel staged a mutiny.

world Updated: Feb 28, 2009 00:30 IST

Fourty-eight hours after the sepoy mutiny in Dhaka and a day after the army took control of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital’s Peelkhana area, the extent of the brutality is gradually unfolding.

On Friday, the army recovered the bodies of 34 officers from a single mass grave dug inside the BDR campus.

BDR chief Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed’s body was fished out of a ditch near the conference hall. With this, the mutiny’s official toll stood at 67, though army officers combing the compound say many more could have been dumped in mass graves or simply thrown into the canal that runs by the BDR campus.

In a gesture aimed at quelling growing army anger against the BDR, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a two-day mourning.

The chief of the country’s fire service, Brig Gen Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah, who identified the body of the BDR chief, recounted the brutality of the border force. “Maj Gen Shakil had not only taken bullet shots, his body was dumped in the waters after stripping him of his uniform,” he told reporters.

What is worrying for the Hasina regime is the fact that not only have many BDR personnel deserted their posts, they have also dumped their uniforms and gone missing.

Meanwhile, Hasina said on Friday that the whole incident was pre-planned, the result of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched “by certain elements”, without naming anyone. “But we will hunt down the instigators,” the Prime Minister promised.

First Published: Feb 27, 2009 15:12 IST