The casualties could have been avoided if BGB members had acted professionally, sources say quoting probe report
The villagers killed in the March 3 clash with Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel at Gazinagar of Matiranga upazila in Khagrachhari were unarmed, sources have said referring to an investigation report.
Requesting anonymity, they said that the probe committee, which submitted the report on Thursday, found the allegation of the slain villagers attacking the BGB members baseless.
Additional District Magistrate Khandaker Rezaul Karim, who led the three-member team, handed over their findings to the district’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) Protap Chandra Biswas at his residence around 12pm.
The other members of the committee — Khagrachhari’s Additional Superintendent of Police Mehedi Hasan and Assistant Conservator of Forest Md Hossain — were present at that time.
Talking to reporters, Rezaul said: “We investigated the incident with utmost sincerity and made some recommendations as well. The DC will send the report to the ministry concerned.”
He declined to reveal the details of their findings or recommendation.
Sources at the DC office, however, said the probe body submitted the report based on information and evidence collected from BGB members, who were present during last week’s clash, other witnesses and video footages of the incident.
The committee found that the villagers were unarmed and did not obstruct the BGB personnel in performing their duty that day. “The casualties could have been avoided if the BGB members had acted professionally,” sources quoted the report as saying.
DC Protap said a copy of the report would be sent to the higher authorities for the next course of action.
On March 3, five people, including a BGB member, were killed and another person shot during the clash over transporting timbers.
The deceased were identified as BGB’s Palashpur zone soldier Md Shaon, villagers Sahab Miah, his two sons Ahmed Ali and Ali Akbar, and Mofiz Miah.
According to witnesses, Ahmed was carrying timbers cut down for power lines in a trolley around 11:30am that day when a BGB patrol team stopped and questioned him. This led to an altercation between the villagers and BGB.
At one point, BGB personnel opened fire and killed Shahab, Ahmed and Akbar on the spot, while bullet-hit Mofiz died on the way to the hospital.
The BGB, in a media statement issued later that day, claimed the villagers had surrounded the patrol team when they tried to stop timber trafficking, prompting the paramilitary force’s members to fire a blank round.
They also claimed the villagers snatched weapons from the BGB men and started firing indiscriminately, which led to the deaths of five people.
However, locals who witnessed the incident outright refuted the claim.
A day later, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had said that BGB cannot deny its responsibility over the fatal incident.
The paramilitary force on March 5 filed cases, naming 19 individuals, including the four deceased, and 70 unnamed persons.
The next day, Mofiz Mia’s son Manik Mia filed another case against six BGB members for opening fire during the clash.