Bangladesh arrests mutiny 'ring leader'
Bangladesh's security forces yesterday arrested a man accused of being the "ring leader" behind a bloody mutiny by troops that has raised fears for the survival of the new civilian government.
The arrest of the suspect and four others came after the army appeared to challenge the elected government by launching its own probe into last week's revolt against senior officers, during which at least 74 people died.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) spokesman M. Kamruzzaman said the man was one of a group of mutineers who held negotiations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to bring an end to the 33-hour revolt. "Intelligence and RAB officers have arrested Touhidul Alam following a raid in the capital. He is the prime accused in the events at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters," Mr Kamruzzaman said.
"Alam was the ring leader of the mutineers. The four others arrested by our officers have also been named in the case."
Following the talks, the mutineers were filmed laying down their weapons on the instructions of Mr Alam.
Analysts said yesterday's move by the army to launch its own inquiry exposed tensions with the government. Prime Minister Hasina, who won elections in December that ended two years of military rule in the country, had already set up an investigation.
But Bangladesh's chief of general staff said the military needed to hold a separate probe that would be independent of the elected government.
The soldiers fled their compound on Thursday, apparently dressed as civilians, after the mutiny ended. They left behind gruesome scenes with scores of bodies, many mutilated by bayonets, dumped in mass graves or thrown down drains.