Bangladesh's military said 72 officers were still missing Saturday after a two-day mutiny by border guards in which at least 76 people died.


Firefighters recover the bodies of army officers from graves inside the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters in Dhaka on Friday. ((Zia Islam/Associated Press))

The government pledged a full investigation as it swiftly moved to restore confidence and reassert control following the bloody uprising at the border guards' headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.

Firefighters were still searching shallow graves and sewers, as well as a pond on the sprawling complex of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

The 33-hour mutiny, staged by the guards over pay and hiring practices, ended late on Thursday when the rebels surrendered. Newly elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina negotiated an end to the revolt with promises of amnesty coupled with threats of military force.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of guards, including many who fled to towns and cities across the country.

Most of the dead were senior army officers, including the chief of the BDR, Maj.-Gen. Shakil Ahmed. His wife's mutilated body was also recovered.

The new head of the border guards, Brig.-Gen. Moinul Hossain, pledged to restore discipline and morale among the rank-and-file. His first task was a meeting on Saturday with members of a government-appointed panel set up to investigate the mutiny.

Compound's grounds searched for victims

Workers scoured the compound and nearby areas, including a pond, in an intense search for more victims.

Hossain said the country's frontiers would be fully secure while he restored the chain of command of the paramilitary force.

"We are trying to restructure the border force as soon as possible. But don't worry, all border posts are properly manned," the general told reporters.

Private ATN television said some bodies appeared to have been burned. Others were mutilated with bayonets. Journalists allowed into the homes of dead or missing officers saw walls and floors stained with blood.

The insurrection was the result of border guards' longtime frustrations over pay that didn't keep pace with that of the army. Rising food prices heightened the frustration of the guards, who make about $100 a month.

Another grievance involved the practice of appointing army officers to head the border guards. The guards also do not participate in UN peacekeeping missions, for which army troops garner additional pay.

With files from the Associated Press