DHAKA: Bangladeshi troops shot and killed at least five suspected insurgents in a pre-dawn raid on a jungle hideout in the restive Chittagong Hill Tracts Saturday, authorities said.
Army and police spokesmen said the raid followed a tip-off that hardliners opposed to an 18-year-old peace accord were hiding out in the remote Boradom area in the southeastern region, along with a large cache of weaponry.
“There was a gunbattle in which five (rebels) were killed,” army spokesman Major Absar Uddin told AFP.
“We also detained three other members of the group as they were fleeing and seized sophisticated arms and ammunition from their hideout.”
The spokesman said that one soldier had been wounded in the exchanges and was taken to hospital.
Police said the rebels were from Jana Sanghati Samiti (M.N. Larma), an offshoot of a former rebel group which fought a decades-long battle for a tribal homeland in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) before signing a 1997 peace deal.
The insurgency in the CHT has claimed more than 2,500 lives since it began in the early 1980s, according to official figures.
Despite the 1997 treaty and the withdrawal of most troops from the region, low-intensity unrest has continued as tribal groups demand key clauses of the deal be implemented, including dismantling settlers’ villages and army camps.