Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 17:10 UK

Dhaka mutiny 'due to poor pay'

A Bangladeshi military policeman sifts through wreckage of the mutiny in February
The ferocity of the mutiny took many Bangladeshis by surprise

An official inquiry into a mutiny by Bangladeshi border guards in February has attributed it to years of pent-up anger over ignored pleas for pay rises.

It says that members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) also wanted better treatment from their army commanders.

The report was commissioned by the government and released on Wednesday.

It is the first full investigation into the 25 February uprising by rank-and-file BDR personnel, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 people.


The head of the inquiry, Anisuzzaman Khan, said there was "no direct involvement by militants or terrorists" in the mutiny.

"There was some anger among the BDR troops over the way their seniors from the army were living," Mr Khan said.

BDR badge
The BDR is responsible for protecting the country's international boundaries

"There was a perception that they lived in luxury while the BDR soldiers had poor pay. It all burst out on that day."

Most senior officers in the BDR, which mostly patrols Bangladesh's border with India and Burma, are seconded from the army.

Mr Khan said that BDR soldiers - who earn about $70 a month - had long complained about their poor treatment by "corrupt" senior army officers, which he said sparked off the "well-planned" February events.

"They complained about their salary structure and not being able to get promotions the way their army counterparts can, and jobs as UN peacekeepers abroad," he said, recommending that the corruption allegations should be investigated.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun said the release of the report was "historic", because "previous governments have never made such reports public before".

A separate inquiry was also ordered last week into the deaths of 21 border guards who were held in custody after the mutiny.

It will be led by a senior civil servant and will establish the causes of the "unnatural deaths", officials said.

The army said last month that most of those who died either committed suicide or died from heart attacks or diseases.

The deaths in custody have been strongly criticised by rights groups including Human Rights Watch.

About 3,000 BDR members have been detained following the two-day mutiny at the regiment's headquarters in Dhaka.

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