Bangladesh: eight dead in a shootout between tribal rebels
At least eight people have been killed in Bangladesh in a shootout between two tribal rebel groups in the Chittagong Hills in the southeast of the country, police said on Friday.
Police Commissioner Tariqul Islam told AFP that two armed groups clashed on Thursday evening in the village of Khamtangpara, near the town of Rowangchhari.
The bodies of eight tribesmen were discovered on Friday morning, “killed in a shootout. But we couldn't identify them,” Islam said.
Rowagnchhari is located in the hills of Chittagong, which have been closed to tourism since security forces launched operations in October 2022 against the emerging rebel group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF).
According to another police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, most of the victims were from the mainly Christian Bawm tribe and were suspected members of the KNF, led by Nathan Bawm, a former fine arts student at the University of Dhaka.
Sixty members of this tribe had fled their village and had taken refuge in Rowangchhari.
“Those who were killed are members of the KNF” , the policeman claimed, adding that they were shot dead around 7:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) on Thursday by the UPDF (democratic) another rebel group.
Last month, the army Bangladeshi accused the KNF of killing one of its soldiers and wounding another.
The elite counter-terrorism and anti-crime group, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) accuses also the KNF to harbor and train Islamic extremists.
The hills of Chittagong have been the scene of a two-decade insurgency that has left thousands of civilians dead.< /p>
The conflict officially ended with a peace agreement reached in 1997, but at least six armed groups continue to operate in the area, according to the police.