(HN, January 19, 2010) -- Military officials in Bangladesh say they have foiled an attempt by former and serving officers to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s government.
Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq told a news conference that “evidence has been unearthed that some officers in active military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance through the army”. Razzaq said, current and former Bangladeshi military officers “with extreme religious views” were involved in the ‘heinous conspiracy”.
The plot was instigated by Bangladeshi conspirators living abroad, he added.
Two retired officers – Lt. Colonel Ehsan Yusuf and Major Zakir – have been arrested, Razzaq said, but did not say when. Authorities are also looking for another conspirator retired officer Major Ziaul Haq, he said.
Bangladesh, a parliamentary democracy since 1990, has witnessed two presidents killed in military coups and 19 other failed coup attempts, since its independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Running on a program of cutting food prices, raising living standards and fighting terrorism, the election of Hasina in 2008 ended of two years of military-backed emergency rule.
A border security force, the Bangladesh Rifles, mutinied in 2009 over guards’ pay and working conditions. (Newsxlive)
The rebels killed 63 army officers before the military suppressed the revolt and arrested hundreds of force members over subsequent months.
The government tried 666 members of the border guards in a single proceeding in June, convicting all but nine in a process that the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said failed to meet international standards for a fair trial.
About a third of Bangladesh, the world’s seventh most populous nation, floods during the annual monsoon, hampering development. According to the World Bank approximately 40 percent of the country’s 150 million people live on less than $1 a day.
- HUMNEWS Staff, Agencies