Dhaka mutineers surrender weapons, troops move in

Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:23pm EST
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By Anis Ahmed and Nizam Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters) - Mutinous members of a paramilitary unit in the Bangladesh capital surrendered their weapons on Thursday as tanks surrounded their headquarters after a second day of gunfire in a mutiny that killed about 50 people.

Government officials and police said the mutiny in Dhaka was under control and urged members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) border guards who had mutinied elsewhere in the country over pay and command issues to lay down their arms.

Gunfire in the capital gradually subsided and stopped after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina threatened tough action in a national broadcast, a day after offering mutineers an amnesty.

"All the rebel troops have surrendered with their arms and the process has been completed," Hasina's media spokesman, Abul Kalam Azad, said of the BDR troops in the capital.

At least 20 government tanks and 15 armored personnel carriers ringed the BDR headquarters in Dhaka, where nearly 50 people were killed in Wednesday's violence.

Hundreds of BDR mutineers handed over their weapons, including automatic rifles, machineguns and grenades, to police who locked the weapons inside two armories in the BDR complex.

"Police have locked the armories and handed me the keys after the troops completed the surrender," Home Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters outside the BDR headquarters, where the mutiny broke out Wednesday.

Those killed in the shooting there and nearby included eight army officers and six civilians, police said.   Continued...

<p>Army soldiers move an artillery piece in front of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters in Dhaka February 26, 2009. Nearly 50 people were killed when Bangladesh paramilitary troops fought among themselves during a mutiny in the headquarters of the BDR over a pay dispute, a government minister said on Thursday. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj</p>