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Mutinous border guards surrender

MUTINOUS Bangladeshi border guards who seized control of their headquarters completed their surrender yesterday after tanks were sent into the capital as a show of force, the government said.

The guards, who are angry over their pay, had agreed overnight to surrender after the government promised them an amnesty and agreed to look into their demands for better conditions.

But the process stalled and the revolt looked to be spreading to other areas early yesterday until the prime minister issued a harsh warning to the rebels, backed up by tanks and armored vehicles rolling through the streets of the capital.

Apparently intimidated by the move, the guards hoisted a white flag yesterday afternoon and resumed laying down arms.

"All the mutinous border guards have surrendered their weapons," government negotiator Mahbub Ara Gini told reporters, adding that all military officials with their families trapped inside the headquarters had been evacuated.

But the two-day revolt, which has killed at least 10 people, has appeared to end before, only to resume again.

Border guards first mutinied on Wednesday at the group's headquarters in Dhaka, turning their weapons on senior officers, seizing a nearby shopping center and trapping students in a school on their compound.

Then yesterday, despite an agreement to surrender, mutineers fired shots at the commanding officer's residence at a border guard post in the southern town of Tekhnaf early in the day, sending him fleeing, said police official Jalal Ahmed Chowdhury.

Witnesses said violence also erupted at border guard posts in Cox's Bazar, Chittagong and Naikhongchari in the south, Sylhet in the northeast, Rajshahi and Naogaon in the northwest.

Bangladeshi tanks rolled into the capital yesterday, hours after the prime minister warned mutinous border guards that she would "do whatever is needed to end the violence."

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead in Dhaka, but officials fear up to 50 people may have been killed there.


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