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Deadly clash in Bangladesh shatters truce

August 15, 2015

At least five suspected insurgents have been killed in a gunfight with security forces. Tribes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts had waged an insurgency for decades before a 1997 peace pact.

Bangladesch Wahlen 2014 Militär Unruhen
Image: Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Acting on a tipoff, a pre-dawn raid on suspected militants' jungle hideout was launched early Saturday, leaving at least five fighters dead and one soldier hospitalized, authorities said.

"We also detained three other members of the group as they were fleeing and seized sophisticated arms and ammunition from their hideout," army spokesman Maj. Absar Uddin told the AFP news agency.

The shootout in the Boradom region marked the first deadly violence between the ethnic rebels and the Bangladeshi military since 1997, when a peace deal was signed.

The government said the rebels were from Jana Sanghati Samiti, which has waged a decades-long struggle for a tribal homeland in the CHT for the region's 13 ethnic minorities.

The conflict has claimed more than 2,500 lives since the early 1980s.

But despite the 1997 treaty and the withdrawal of most troops from the region, low-intensity fighting has continued as tribal groups demand key clauses of the deal be implemented. These included dismantling settlers' villages and army camps, which so far has not been completed.

jar/sgb (dpa, AFP)