Monday, April 22, 2024

Prime rebellion suspect, four others arrested

Staff Correspondent

Five BDR personnel arrested at the Hazaribagh sweepers’ colony in Dhaka are presented before the journalists at the RAB-1 office in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo
Five BDR personnel arrested at the Hazaribagh sweepers’ colony in Dhaka are presented before the journalists at the RAB-1 office in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

The security forces on Tuesday captured the prime suspect of the BDR soldiers’ rebellion and four of his associates as the investigation committees started functioning.
The soldiers took up arms against their officers, from the army, in the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters in the morning on February 25 and surrendered late February 26. Seventy-one, including army officers, soldiers and civilians, have so far been reported killed during the rebellion. Five army officers still remained missing.
The Rapid Action Battalion on Tuesday arrested the prime rebellion suspect, Syed Tawhidul Alam, also the BDR’s deputy assistant director, and four of his associates at Ganaktuli, near the BDR headquarters, said a battalion official.
The government accused more than 1,000 soldiers — including Tawhid and five others who were named — of killing, looting, arson and breaching the chain of command. Sedition charges were also levelled against them.
The four others arrested are deputy assistant director Md Abdur Rahim, havildar Azad Ali, nayek Feroz Ahmed and sepoy Zakir Hossain, according to a statement issued by the battalion headquarters.
The government has taken more than 450 soldiers in custody after their surrender. The rebels laid down their weapons 35 hours after the rebellion had broken out.
Army troops have, meanwhile, fanned out across the country in aid of civil administration to capture the rebel soldiers who went into hiding after the rebellion.
In Dhaka, the joint forces raided houses around the BDR headquarters looking for the rebels.
The army initiated an independent investigation of the rebellion on Tuesday, a day after the government on Monday had reconstituted an investigation committee formed on February 27.
The chief of the nine-member investigation committee instituted by the army, Lieutenant General Jahangir Alam Chowdhury, along with a number of officers, visited the BDR headquarters on Tuesday to collect evidences.
The reconstituted government committee, now headed by a retired bureaucrat, held its first meeting at the home affairs ministry on the day to work out a plan to complete the investigation by the stipulated time.
‘We have had an overall discussion on the BDR incidents. We hope to complete the investigation by the deadline,’ said Anis-uz-zaman Khan, a former secretary, who replaced Sahara Khatun as the committee head.
The law secretary, Kazi Habibul Awal, additional secretary Ehsanul Haque of the Prime Minister’s Office and joint secretary Moinuddin Abdullah of the Cabinet Division and BDR director general Brigadier General Moinul Hossain, who are also on the committee, attended the meeting.
The seven-member committee formed on February 27 now has 11 members after the reconstitution. The committee, which has been asked to submit report in seven days, visited the place of occurrence after the meeting.
The committee, which is looking into the reasons behind the rebellion and is supposed to give a background of the incidents with recommendations on related issues, will meet next at the home affairs ministry to discuss the findings on Wednesday. In an official notification, the home ministry, meanwhile, asked the army officers deputed to the Bangladesh Rifles who had survived the rebellion to report to the BDR headquarters at the earliest.
The director military operation, Brigadier General Ziaul Hasan, at a briefing on Tuesday said the army investigation committee would make a set of recommendations to fend off recurrence of such incidents.
‘It will also look into the reason behind the breach of the chain of command by the soldiers,’ he said. The committee will submit the report to the chief of army staff. The names of the committee members and the timeline were not disclosed.
The government on Monday sought help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the probe. It said it would seek help of Scotland Yard and the United Nations in this regard.
Fifty-six army officers have so far been reported killed. Three of the bodies are yet to be identified. The army said five of its officers were still missing.
An army soldier, eight BDR solders and three civilians, including the wives of two army officials, were killed during the rebellion in the headquarters.
Three others wounded outside the headquarters in the first-day firing also died in hospital.

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