DHAKA, Feb. 1, Reuter: Separatist guerrillas killed at least three tribesmen and wounded 10 in attacks yesterday in two southern Bangladesh villagers near the Indian border, officials said today.
The officials told Reuters by telephone from Khagrachari town that separate groups of heavily armed Shanti Bahini (peace force) tribal rebels raided Bafnatali and Lipapara villagers in the Chittagong Hill tracts.
“The rebels crossed into Bangladesh from the border and asked villagers to leave their homes and join thousands of tribal families in refugee camps in the east Indian state of Tripura”, one official said.
When the villagers refused to leave, the guerrillas began shooting at them indiscriminately. forcing them to flee to nearby jungle. He added. The guerrillas has also looted and set fire to several houses before troops and police arrived,
Dhaka officials say some 24,000 Bangladeshi tribe’s people live in camps in Tripura after escaping fighting between guerrillas and troops in the hill tracts bordering India and Burma.
But India’s High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Indarjit Chadha. told Reuters up to 32,000 refugees were in Tripura.
Efforts to repatriate them were abandoned on January 15 because Indian officials said the refugees feared persecution at home.
At least 1.000 civilians and 200 soldiers have died in fighting since the Shanti Bahini took up arms in 1975 after negotiations failed over their demands for autonomy in the 14, 2000 sq., and km (5,500 sq., mile) tracts.
Home (Interior) Ministry officials have said India is impeding a peaceful settlement by providing shelter and arms to the Shanti Bahini. India denies the charge.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 6, 1987