Bangladesh tribals clash with settlers;100 hurt

Source: Reuters

DHAKA, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Authorities in Bangladesh deployed the army to the southeastern hill region after more than 100 people were injured in clashes between tribals and Bengali settlers, police and local media said on Sunday, At least two people were killed in the clashes that raged throughout Saturday in the Rangamati Hill District, about 350 km (220 miles) from the capital Dhaka, the worst violence in the area in years. Thousands of landless Bengalis, mostly victims of river erosion, were settled in the Chittagong Hill Tract region under a government plan in the 1980s to ease population pressure in the plains and also to defuse a tribal insurgency. Relations between the settlers and the tribal groups have been tense over ownership of lands, often leading to violence.”Army troops have been deployed and the situation is under control but very tense,” a local reporter said on Sunday by telephone. “Assembly of more than five people has been prohibited.” Police said they found bullet-riddled bodies of a man and a woman in the Rangamati district where the clashes erupted. More than 100 homes were set on fire. In 1997 the Bangladesh government signed a peace deal with tribal Shanti Bahini guerrillas who waged a 25-year insurgency over demand for political autonomy in the 5,500 sq miles (14,200 sq km) Chittagong Hill Tracts, bordering India and Myanmar. Police said a tribal group opposed to the peace accord attacked a settlers village, sparking the latest violence. (Reporting by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by Anis Ahmed and Sanjeev Miglani) ((nizamuddin.ahmed@thomsonreuters.com; +880-2-8330123; Reuters Messaging: nizamuddin.ahmed.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))
spotted by RS
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