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Charges for Bangladesh mutineers

1 March 09 18:54 GMT

Bangladesh police say they are charging more than 1,000 border guardsmen in connection with a mutiny which left more than 140 people dead.

The charges include conspiracy to kill officers and civilians, using weapons and explosives, creating panic, looting and trying to hide bodies.

The remains of more than 70 officers have still not yet been found days after the violence in Dhaka.

The mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles apparently began as a row over pay.

It ended in the massacre of 137 army officers and, it is feared, about 20 civilians including officers' wives, in the guards' headquarters in the capital.

Police have named six of the men they accuse of carrying out the mutiny. The six were involved in negotiating the mutineers' surrender with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The mutiny ended when the government threatened to quell it by force.

The Bangladeshi government had offered the mutineers an amnesty but once the scale of the massacre became apparent, it said those responsible would be punished.

The army has said that those found guilty of murder will be executed.

'Rebel Hunt'

The police say they still do not have the names of more than 1,000 others, who they believe were also involved.

Several hundred guardsmen are now in detention, but many others were able to escape.

The prime minister said she had asked the US FBI and the UK's Scotland Yard for assistance in the investigation into the mutiny and the killings.

Sheikh Hasina told parliament she had initiated a search operation codenamed "Operation Rebel Hunt", AFP news agency reported.

Hundreds of guards began returning to their posts on Sunday after the mutiny ended on Thursday.

They had been given a 24-hour ultimatum to do so or face disciplinary action.

After searches of the vast compound, bodies were found either buried in shallow mass graves or dumped into the fast-flowing sewers below ground.

Some charred human bones have been found in the remains of a fire.

The army has postponed the funerals of those who died until all the bodies have been found.

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