Five leaders of tribal party killed in Bangladesh hills, violence grips 2 districts

Tension gripped two hill districts in southeastern Bangladesh today after five leaders of a tribal party's breakaway group were killed and 10 others injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen, police

Published: 04th May 2018 07:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2018 07:26 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

DHAKA: Tension gripped two hill districts in southeastern Bangladesh today after five leaders of a tribal party's breakaway group were killed and 10 others injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen, police said.

According to media reports, tension gripped Khagrachhari and Rangamati districts following the attack on the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) leaders, prompting police and army troops in the neighbourhood to intensify security vigil fearing eruption of further violence among the four factions of two regional tribal parties.

The UPDF faction, called the UPDF-democratic, alleged that the attack was carried out by the party's original group, which, however, denied the charge.

"Five leaders of the breakaway faction of the UPDF were gunned down while 10 others sustained injury when they were on way to join the funeral of Shaktiman Chakma, who was killed yesterday in Rangamati hill district by unknown assailants," a senior police official said.

Chakma was the chairman of a Rangamati sub-district and factional leader of Janasanghati Samity, popularly called JSS-Reformist, which is said to be friendly to the UPDF's breakaway group.

"Unidentified miscreants fired gunshots, killed the five leaders and injuring 10 others on the borders of Rangamati and Khagrachhari hill districts," the police officer told PTI over phone.

Rangamati additional police chief Jahangir Alam said they came under assailants ambush while travelling in a bus to join Chakma's funeral at his hometown in Naniarchar upazila sub-district.

"Three of the UPDF faction leaders died instantly and two others succumbed to their injuries on way to the hospital while injured were being treated at the (nearby port city of ) Chittagong," he said.

The JSS had led a nearly two-decade long insurgency in the hills, demanding ethnic minority hill peoples regional autonomy, until striking a landmark peace deal with the government in 1997 but soon witnessed the emergence of the UPDF as a rival regional party.

Led by former insurgent commander Shantu Larma, the JSS suffered a split nearly a decade ago while the UPDF witnessed an internal divide last year.

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