Bangladeshi police charge 1,000 guards in mutiny massacre

Bangladeshi authorities charged more than 1,000 border guards with murder and arson Sunday after a mutiny against army officers left as many as 148 people dead or missing last week.
Army soldiers in green uniform scan Bangladeshi border guards as they report back at their headquarters in Dhaka on Sunday. ((Pavel Rahman/Associated Press))
Charges for murder, arson and other offences were filed Sunday against more than 1,000 border guards after a mutiny in the Bangladeshi capital left as many as 148 people dead or missing last week, police said.

The government has also announced plans to form a special tribunal to try the border guards who organized the mutiny.

The police have named six of the men they accuse of carrying out the revolt, who were all involved in negotiating their surrender with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Authorities have listed a range of charges against the alleged leaders, including conspiracy to kill officers and civilians, using weapons and explosives, creating panic, looting and hiding bodies.

Search teams have found mass graves containing the bodies of 77 people, most of them army officers, who were killed during a two-day revolt that ended Thursday. Many of the bodies were riddled with bullet wounds and mutilated by bayonets.

Teams continued searching the compound grounds and nearby sewers Sunday for more bodies, including 71 people unaccounted for. Most of the missing were presumed dead, according to Sheikh Mohammad Shajalal, a firefighter overseeing the search.

About 180 officers came under attack at the Bangladesh Rifles complex during an uprising that  apparently erupted over the border guards' long-standing complaints that their pay has not kept pace with the salaries of soldiers in the army.

Hundreds of guards began reporting back to their headquarters on Sunday, all claiming they had no part in the mutiny, after the Home Ministry gave them a 24-hour ultimatum to return to their posts, report to police stations or face disciplinary action.

With files from the Associated Press