Five men, described by police as activists of JSS (MN Larma faction), have been killed in a clash with security forces in Rangamati’s Baghaichharhi Upazila, agencies report. Local police OC Zakir Hossain said that the clash occurred early on Saturday at Barhadam in Rupkari Union.One of the dead has been identified as Rupayan Chakma, he said. The others are yet to be identified.
An army trooper Liakat Ali was also injured in the clash, added OC Hossain. He has been taken to Combined Military Hospital in Chittagong. Security forces raided Barhadam around 5am on Saturday on a tip-off that a hideout of the JSS was functioning there, said the police officer. “The JSS activists opened fire and the security forces retaliated leaving five dead on the spot,” said OC Hossain.
He added that three SLRs, two Chinese riffles, an SMG, a 9mm pistol, ammunitions and army uniforms were recovered from the spot. The JSS fought a bloody bushwar against Bangladesh security forces for 22 years from 1975. In 1997, their leaders signed an accord with the Bangladesh government and the bitter insurgency ended. But the JSS continued to wage a bloody fratricidal feud with another hill based organisation UPDF.
Dozens of activists of both groups have been killed in the past 15 years. But Saturday’s encounter between the army and JSS was the first since the 1997 accord. In recent months, Bangladesh intelligence has received reports that the JSS was re-arming itself because its leaders were disillusioned with the failure to get enough autonomy for the Chittagong Hill Tracts.