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BDR ammo in NE rebels’ hands
Published on 30 Apr. 2009 12:08 AM IST
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A former chief of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) has said the ammunition and explosives that went missing during the troopers’ mutiny could have been smuggled to militant groups in northeastern India, raising concerns in both countries. India says militants in the northeast use Bangladeshi soil to stage armed operations, a charge that Dhaka denies. The report quoting officials said, the mutineers not only looted firearms, ammunition and explosives from the armories at the BDR headquarters in the outskirts of the national capital, but also destroyed many of the ledger books making it difficult for investigators to make an estimate of missing weapons. Faruq Khan, a minister in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government, said mostly small arms had gone missing. The minister is coordinating the government’s effort to probe the mutiny and related developments, however, did not give details of what all had gone missing. 81people, including 55 Bangladesh Army officers on deputation to BDR, were killed during the Feb 25 and 26 mutiny. The troopers revolted over low wages and poor working conditions. BDR sources said the mutineers broke into all armories of all sectors, battalions, and other units, and looted indiscriminately. According to Sinlung reports, BDR director general Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam said, “We’re trying to estimate how many arms and ammunition are missing, with back-up information from different sources, and we are hopeful we will be able to complete the estimation soon.” But former BDR chief Rahman said: “It’s impossible to know the exact figure; one could only imagine a figure.” Both the incumbent and the former BDR chiefs feared that the missing weapons might end up becoming a national security concern, which was echoed by intelligence and other law-enforcing agencies.

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