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Wednesday, March 4, 2009
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4 more bodies identified

3 others await DNA test; 5 army officers still missing; investigators rummage through BDR HQ for evidence

Four more bodies of the BDR mutiny victims including an army officer were identified yesterday and the night before, bringing the number of missing officers down to five.

Major Kazi Ashraf Hossain was identified by his sister and non-commissioned BDR officer Subedar Major Nurul Islam by his wife at Dhaka Medical College (DMC) morgue between 11 and 11:30am yesterday.

At around 8:00 Monday night, bodies of Kalpana, 16, and her cousin Firoz, 16, were identified by the former's husband at Sir Salimullah Medical College morgue. The two used to work as domestic help at slain BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed's residence.

The army authorities yesterday said three bodies at DMC morgue are awaiting DNA test for identification. They could be of three of the five officers still unaccounted for.

On Monday, they revised the number of missing officers down to six from the previous 72.

Briefing journalists at the army headquarters in Dhaka cantonment yesterday afternoon, Brig Gen ATM Ziaul Hasan said, "Various bloodstained evidence, mobile phone records, SIMs and duty rosters for BDR members have already been collected from Pilkhana compound."

He said they have also gathered records of who were on duty at what point when the revolt broke out on the morning of February 25.

As of Monday, they have recovered 47 rifles, 18 pistols, 46 submachine guns, 11 light machine guns and around 50,000 bullets from Pilkhana and around.

However, a good amount of explosives was still strewn over there.

Brig Gen Ziaul said 15 yet-to-be-defused grenades have been cordoned off inside the compound.

About the 'Operation Rebel Hunt', he said no innocent people will be harassed during the drive. "The words 'rebel hunt' themselves explain that only the rebels will be arrested after examining relevant information," he observed.

He said the army and other security forces are aiding Criminal Investigation Department in its investigation in the case filed with Lalbagh Police Station.

They will also help the committees formed by the government and the army to probe the mutiny staged by BDR jawans at Pilkhana last week.

PROBE TEAMS
The probe teams formed by the government and the army yesterday began formal work by visiting the BDR headquarters.

The reconstituted government probe committee headed by former secretary Anisuzzaman Khan met at the home ministry before visiting the BDR compound.

Before leaving the ministry for Pilkhana at around noon, Anisuzzaman told reporters he is hopeful that his committee will be able to submit a report within seven days.

Army's enquiry committee headed by Quartermaster General Lt Gen Jahangir Alam Chowdhury met in a building adjacent to the Officers' Mess at Pilkhana at around 12 noon.

Gen Jahangir accompanied by several army officers entered the BDR headquarters at 11:45am.

After the meeting, they went to slain Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed's residence and the Darbar Hall where dozens of defenceless officers were massacred.

Later, they visited the Quarter Guard where many officers were held hostage during the 33-hour mutiny that ended last Thursday evening.

None of the media was allowed to enter these two places while the army enquiry team was inside.

I have nothing to say after a day's visit, Gen Jahangir told reporters before leaving the scene after nearly a two-hour inspection.

Meanwhile, fire-fighters continued pumping water out of the ponds on BDR headquarters premises in search of bodies of the missing officers.

Army, Rab and police efforts to trace the missing officers too were on.

HOME MINISTRY NOTES
In a press note yesterday, the home ministry appealed for witnesses or those having information about the vicious killings of February 25-26 to come forward.

A box has been kept at the gate No. 2 of Bangladesh Secretariat for written statements of those willing to help the probe committee with leads, says ministry release.

The ministry requested the information providers to mention their name, address and telephone number.

In another notification, it has requested the army officers, who managed to survive the mutiny on February 25-26, to join work at the BDR headquarters as early as possible.

According to the army headquarters, 40 of its officers deputed to the border force came out alive from Pilkhana.

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