11/06/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Death and life in prison for 312 border guards responsible for the 2009 massacre

by Sumon Corraya
Members of the Bangladesh Rifle attacked their officers four years ago over unpaid wages. The uprising triggered the reaction of the regular army, which culminated in 160 deaths: 140 soldiers and 20 civilians. A court convicts 263 people on lesser charges, acquits another 271.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A special court in Dhaka sentenced 152 members of the Bangladesh Rifle (border guards) to death with another 160 receiving life in prison for their role in the mutiny that left 160 people dead across the country. In addition to these 352, the court convicted 263 people on minor charges, sentencing them to three to ten years in prison, whilst 271 were acquitted for lack of evidence.

On 25 February 2009, the Bangladesh Rifle mutinied at their headquarters in Dhaka to protest against unpaid wages. The insurgents killed several officers and took family members hostage.

The army responded by moving in against guards in the capital and other parts of the country. the final death toll reached 160, 140 military and 20 civilians.

After the massacre, the Bangladesh Rifle was disbanded, replaced a new force called the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

In theory, the paramilitary group, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for security along the country's 4,000 km of border with India and Myanmar.

In fact, these border guards are often used by the army and officers as cannon fodder, in counterinsurgency and other high-risk operations.

 

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