Huge arms cache recovered from Bangladesh’s hill region

Dhaka, Sep 7 (IANS) A huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered on Monday after a gun-battle between the Bangladesh army and militants in the country’s Chittagong hill region, an official said.

Based on inputs that armed cadres of regional political group Jana Sanghati Samiti (JSS-MN Larma) were camping in the area, troops were mobilised in Khagrachari district, Xinhua quoted an official as saying.

Sensing the presence of the military, armed rebels opened indiscriminate firing following which the security forces retaliated, the official said.

“We have recovered five firearms, 450 bullets and six pairs of military uniforms and several hand grenades from the area after the militants escaped under the cover of darkness,” said the Khagrachari district administration official.

The army searched the spot and arrested one person who was identified as an armed member of the regional political group JSS-MN Larma.

Last month, five suspected militants were killed in a clash with the Bangladesh army in Chittagong hill region.

Last month’s encounter between the army and JSS, a former rebel group which has been waging an insurgency since 1975 for political autonomy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) bordering India and Myanmar, was the first of its kind since 1997.

The bitter insurgency ended in 1997 after JSS leaders signed a peace accord with the Bangladesh government.

Despite the peace accord, JSS reportedly continued to have a bloody feud with another hill-based organisation the United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) and JSS-MN Larma.

Bangladesh Army claimed that the victims were armed members of two regional political groups — UPDF and JSS-MN Larma.

The UPDF and the JSS later denied any link with those killed in the fighting.

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