Bangladesh rebels surrender to tanks

Associated Press
Thursday 26 February 2009 14:17 GMT

Rebel soldiers in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka surrendered today after being confronted with government tanks.

The armour rolled in hours after the prime minister warned the mutinous members of the Bangladeshi Rifles holed up in a compound she would "do whatever is needed to end the violence."

But the two-day revolt over pay, which has killed at least 10 people, has appeared to end before, only to resume.

The Rifles, the official name of the country's border guards, first mutinied yesterday at the group's headquarters in Dhaka, turning their weapons on senior officers, seizing a nearby shopping centre and trapping students in a school on their compound.

The guards later agreed to surrender after the government said it would grant them amnesty and discuss their grievances.

But today rebels fired shots at the commanding officer's residence at a border guard post in the southern town of Tekhnaf. Violence also erupted at border guard posts in Cox's Bazar, Chittagong and Naikhongchari in the south, Sylhet in the north-east, Rajshahi and Naogaon in the north-west.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appealed to the mutineers to surrender in a televised speech to the nation.

"We don't want to use force to break the stand-off," she said. "But don't play with our patience. We will not hesitate to do whatever is needed to end the violence if peaceful means fails."

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead in Dhaka, but officials fear the total may be up to 50.

Some 42,000 guards with the Rifles are posted at 64 camps throughout the country.

The insurrection was the result of long-running frustrations over pay for the border guards that did not keep pace with that of the army's - highlighted by rising food prices in the chronically poor South Asian country as the global economic crisis grows.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in