Bangladesh: Fewer officers missing after mutiny

Bangladeshi soldiers carry a coffin during a funeral Monday for victims of last week's mutiny.
The Bangladeshi military has revised the number of army officers missing after last week’s bloody uprising, from 72 down to six.

The earlier number was based on “assumptions,” said Lt. Gen. Sina Ibn Jamali, the army chief of general staff. “The numbers we are giving now are grounded in facts,” Jamali told reporters Sunday night. Authorities said confusion arose because no one knew for sure how many officers were inside the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters when paramilitary troops, or jawans, staged a bloody revolt and took dozens of them hostage Wednesday. Search crews have recovered 73 bodies from a river, sewers and three mass graves inside the Rifles compound in the Pilkhana area of the capital, Dhaka. Of those bodies, 53 were confirmed as those of army officers. Meanwhile, an army investigation into the 35-hour rebellion began Monday.

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The police have filed murder charges against more than 1,000 Rifles, and soldiers were out in full force throughout Bangladesh looking for them. The 65,000-strong Rifles is a border security force — distinct from the army, but whose commanders are career army officers. The jawans had complained for years that their army superiors dismissed their appeals for more pay, subsidized food and the opportunity to participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations, which pay far more than what they make at home.

The two-day standoff ended after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised the jawans amnesty if they laid down their arms. She has backtracked since, saying the government will not show mercy to those who killed, looted or committed arson.