Dhaka: The 23 Bangladesh rifles personnel, wanted for the bloody uprising at the force headquarters in 2009, are still missing and the authorities have doubled the bounty on their heads in order to trace them speedily.
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) chief Major General Mainul Islam said they have decided to double the reward to Taka 2,00,000 for any information leading to the arrest of rebel soldiers, accused in February 25-26, 2009 mutiny in which 74 people, including 57 officers were killed.
An application seeking extra allocations was ready to be sent to the Finance Ministry, Islam told The New Age.
"We are trying our best to arrest the absconding border guards," the paper quoted him in a report today.
The trial of around 2,000 BDR soldiers who were detained in 29 frontier districts began in November. They are being tried on charges of staging the mutiny, breaking in arsenals and looting weapons at sector and battalion headquarters.
Nearly 2,000 other BDR guards stationed at Pilkhana HQ during the rebellion and suspected to be involved directly in killings, now await trial under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal.
A large number of soldiers fled the HQ after the mutiny. Some surrendered or were arrested under an army-led campaign called Operation Rebel Hunt which was also for recovery of missing weapons. The government on April 7 last year announced a Taka 50,000 reward to anyone who could help arrest a fugitive BDR mutineer.
On May 19, BDR released a list of 25 absconding soldiers, along with photographs, who had fled Pilkhana after the mutiny. It led to the arrest of two.
The amount was further doubled to Taka 100,000 but the 23 suspected mutineers still remain at large.
Under a government decision the ordinary mutineers would be tried under relatively lenient BDR Act which prescribes the highest seven years of imprisonment but the soldiers involved in killings and lootings would face death penalties after trial in fast track Speedy Trial Tribunal.
The Supreme Court earlier negated a suggestion to try them under Army Act in response to a presidential reference.
The mutiny came just two months after the installation of the Sheikh Hasina government after the landmark victory on December 29, 2008.
The rebels at that time claimed a sense of "deprivation" prompted them to stage the mutiny and demanded the frontier force should be freed from "military domination" as they also killed 8 civilians, 8 fellow soldiers and an army soldier apart from the 57 military officers.
Prime Minister Hasina recently consented for reforms in BDR, renaming it as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) with a new combat uniform.