Bangladesh troops begin pullout from Chittagong hills
Last Updated: Saturday, August 08, 2009, 21:31
Dhaka: Bangladesh has begun withdrawal of its temporary Army camps from the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts, dominated by Buddhist tribals, to implement a peace accord signed in 1997.

Two camps established in 1988 in Khagrachhari and Rangamati were dismantled yesterday to ensure security in nearby areas, the Daily Star reported.

The Sheikh Hasina government on July 29 announced that it will pull out one brigade troops and 35 temporary security camps from the region by this September.

The region is dominated by Buddhist tribals but a large population of Bengali Muslims settlers also occupy the place.

The land used for the camps was returned to its original owners after giving a sum of Taka 2,000 each a month as rent, the zone's Acting Commander Major Mamunur Rashid was quoted as saying.

However, the Army is entitled to use the land until 2011 as per the agreement and the owners are not allowed to construct anything.

Around 10 other temporary camps under Khagrachhari brigade of the Army will be withdrawn in phases, the paper said quoting sources.

Under the peace accord, the government is supposed to withdraw all military camps and security forces from CHT except the three cantonments.

The region witnessed an armed struggle against efforts to settle Bengalis culminating in the 1997 peace accord.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 08, 2009, 21:31

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