Pitara Kids Network

Mutiny in Dhaka: 70 People Killed by Rebels

Where: Dhaka, Bangladesh

February 28, 2009 : The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troops rose in revolt against their commanders on 25 February, 2009 after a dispute. The BDR is a paramilitary unit that patrols the country’s borders. There was resentment among the troops over some issues, including pay. The BDR chiefs are all officers from the regular Bangladesh Army, and this was not acceptable to the troops either.

At a meeting between troops and officers where the men are allowed to air their grievances, the rebels started spraying bullets at officers. They killed their commanding officers and then their wives and families. Over 2,000 BDR paramilitaries took control of the regiment headquarters and held 100 people hostage. Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina ordered tanks to be sent in and issued stern warnings. The rebels surrendered on the second day of the uprising. They were offered a legal pardon on surrender, but ministers in the government said the “people directly involved in the killings” would be punished. The legal penalty for mutiny is death.

Two days after the surrender, dozens of bodies of army officers were found in shallow mass graves. The death toll now stands at 70. Hundreds of rebel soldiers tried to escape out of the country disguised as civilians but were captured. Bangladesh has a long history of military rule, and the present democratically elected government has been in power only two months.