At least 3 killed in firing as BGB, villagers clash

Special Correspondent and Correspondent, Thakurgaon | Update:

Map of ThakurgaoAt least three people were killed in firing by the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) along Thakurgaon border on Tuesday.

However, a BGB official of Thakurgaon battalion seeking anonimity, told Prothom Alo that BGB members retalitated after a group of suspected smugglers attacked the BGB men.

The incident took place in Bokua area of Haripur in Thakurgaon.

The BGB offcial admitted that two persons died on the spot. Another was said to have died in the hospital.

But, UNB gave the number of casualties at four.

Four people, including a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinee, were killed and at least 16 others injured after members of BGB opened fire during, what the paramilitary force claimed, a clash with cattle smugglers on Tuesday, reported the news agency.

It quoted superintendent of police Mohammad Moniruzzaman as saying that the deceased were identified as Nawab, 30, son of Nazrul Islam, Sadeque, 40, son of Zahir Uddin of Ruhia village, Joynul, 16, Nurul Islam of Bahrampur village, and Sohel, 35, son of Abdul Goni of Shinghari village.

Joynul was appearing in the ongoing SSC examination from a local school.

According to the local people, the BGB men used to check whether cattle smuggled from India are being taken to Jadurani haat (weekly bazar) in adjoining Ranishankail upazila. The market of cattle heads sits once a week on Tuesday.

As part of their regular patrol, a team of BGB members from Betna border outpost stopped some cattle traders at Bahrampur around 11:30am while they were going to Jaduranir haat, officials said. They claimed that some of the cattle were brought in from India.

Witnesses said there had been an altercation between the two parties that ultimately turned into a full-scale clash. The BGB members then opened fire on the people.

The paramilitary force members fired around 100 shots in a span of half an hour, killing Nawab and Sadeque on the spot, according to villagers.

The police super said many people were injured in the BGB firing. "They're being treated at different hospitals," he said adding, "Two of them --Mithun and Babu-- are in critical condition."

Commanding officer of BGB Thakurgaon 50 Battalion lieutenant colonel Tuhin Mohammad Masud said two people were killed in the BGB firing. "The BGB men were forced to open fire in self-defence," he said, adding that he heard two more people died on the way to hospital.

He also claimed that cattle smugglers, armed with sharp weapons, attacked the BGB troopers at Bahrampur while they were returning after seizing several smuggled cows, forcing them to open fire in self-defence.

Two BGB members were also injured in the clash, Tuhin added.

Resident medical officer at Haripur Upazila Health Complex Abdus Samad said they removed bullets from the bodies of 14 people and provided them with first aid at their hospital.

Later, they were referred to Abdur Rahim Medical College Hospital in Dinajpur, he said.

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