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Bangladesh sacks three soldiers over killing of civilians

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 18:11

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s military has sacked three senior officers from a controversial elite unit over claims they abducted and killed seven people outside Dhaka, an official said today.

The armed forces official said the officers have been dismissed and handed early retirement from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which rights groups blame for hundreds of extra-judicial killings.

"They were sent into premature retirement," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. He added one of those sacked was a commander of the RAB while the other two were his deputies.

The move comes after a businessman in the industrial city of Narayanganj last week accused the three of abducting his son in-law, a city councillor, and six of his associates.

Their bodies were found days after their disappearance floating in a nearby river. Post-mortem examinations showed they had been knocked unconscious with blows to the head and strangled with ropes.

RAB chief Moklesur Rahman told AFP "the three officers have been withdrawn" from the force and a probe has been ordered.

According to the Daily Star, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered her cabinet to find those responsible for the killings which have made national headlines.

The businessman told reporters that rivals of his son in-law hired the RAB officers at a cost of USD 77,000 and alleged that the money was deposited in the officers` bank accounts.

The killings marked a dramatic escalation in the cases of enforced disappearances in the country following the January 5 general election which the ruling Awami League party won after an opposition boycott.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said most of the 300 people who have gone missing in the months leading up to and since the polls have been political opponents of the Awami League.
They have been mostly picked up from their homes by security agencies and some have later turned up dead, according to the BNP, adding that two more of its officials have gone missing since Sunday. 

First Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 18:11

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