Bangladesh salutes dead officers

Scores of Bangladeshi Monday thronged a funeral service in Dhaka to pay respects to over four dozen army officers killed by the country’s mutinous para-military troops last week, even as the government continued searches for missing Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) ranks it blames for the killings.

Grieving relatives of the dead officers traveled miles to attend the service held at the Dhaka military stadium.

President, Zillur Rahman, and army chief, General Moeen Ahmed, were present as air force jets flew in salute to the 49 officers and a commander’s wife killed in the mutiny.

On Wednesday, some 9,000 Bangladesh Rifles troops revolted against their superiors over poor salaries and work conditions.

Incidentally, the BDR troops are lead by officers of the Bangladeshi army.

Indications suggest over 80 officers were killed in the revolt while another 70 were said to be missing since the unrest erupted in Dhaka before spreading to other parts of the country.

BDR ranks laid down arms after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at a meeting with BDR officials, said she would quell the revolt by force.

Amnesty was earlier promised to the troops by Hasina, but she retracted her statement after, large-scale killings committed by BDR troops, became public.

Her government has now decided to constitute special tribunals to try the guards linked to the killings.

Police say up to 1,000 suspects have been identified, and some could be charged with murder.

After the 24-hour surrender deadline, announced by her, expired Sunday, Hasina directed the army to hunt down the culprits and has also sought help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United Nations and the Scotland Yard.

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