If If You Want to Rebel, Make Sure You Succeed!

26th February 2009

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh border guards launched an armed mutiny taking officers hostage and sparking a fierce gunfire that killed five and wounded 42 people. The mutinous paramilitary border security force stormed the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in Dhaka over low pay.

After seizing the BDR headquarters, the guards fired at enemy helicopters hovering above the barracks. Initially, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offerred a general amnesty in returned for the guards to lay down their arms. However, on the next day, the Prime Minister threatened tough action and soon there was 20 government tanks and 15 armored personnel carriers besieging the BDR headquarters.

According to Reuters, the guards have surrendered their weapons (automatic rifles, machine guns, and grenades). This is the biggest challenge that Sheikh Hasina had faced since she took office more than two months ago. Sheikh Hasina won a landslide victory that ended two years of army-backed government.

Bangladesh remains one of the world’s most densely populated countries with almost half of its population living on less than $1 US dollar per day. Formally known as East Pakistan, Bangladesh came into being only in 1971 after the civil war of Pakistan. The political situation in Bangladesh remains volatile (they spent 15 years under military rule until 1990) and has been critisized for its human rights record.

BBC Facts

  • Full name: People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • Population: 161.3 million (UN, 2008)
  • Capital and largest city: Dhaka
  • Area: 143,998 sq km (55,598 sq miles)
  • Major language: Bengali
  • Major religions: Islam, Hinduism
  • Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 taka = 100 paisa
  • Main exports: Garments, fish, jute goods, leather products
  • GNI per capita: US $470 (World Bank, 2007)

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