General: Mass Graves Found After Bangladesh Revolt

Security forces combing the headquarters of Bangladesh's border guard unit Friday found dozens of officers' bodies thrown hurriedly into mass graves, one day after a revolt ended against the unit's commanders, a top general.

Hundreds of mutinous soldiers have been arrested, officials say, and roadblocks thrown up across Bangladesh in order to capture more.

The private TV station ETV has said at least 40 bodies have been found since the revolt over poor pay and conditions ended, though officials say dozens of people remain missing and it appeared likely that the death toll would increase.

"We are digging out dozens of decomposing bodies dumped into mass graves. We are still taking the bodies out, so I can't give you an exact number," Brig. Abu Naim Shahidullah told NTV. All the victims appeared to be officers, he said, and were wearing combat fatigues.

The mutiny ended Thursday evening with mutinous soldiers laying down their arms, shortly after the government sent tanks into Dhaka. The border guards were also promised amnesty to persuade them to surrender.

But as night fell, many mutineers fled under cover of darkness, according to Abdul Kashem, an official of the Bangladesh Rifles, the official name of the paramilitary border force. It was not clear if the amnesty would apply to guards who fled.

Commander A.K. Azad, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion, said more than 230 mutineers — most dressed in civilian clothing — were rounded up Thursday night on the outskirts of Dhaka. Another battalion official, M. Morshed, said security forces had arrested 68 more mutineers near the town of Savar, 25 miles northwest of Dhaka.

Security forces have set up highway checkpoints to search buses, and are also searching ferries as they look for more mutineers, officials said.

On Friday afternoon, the private TV station ETV reported that 18 more bodies had been taken from the wreckage of the guards' main compound, raising the death toll to at least 40 people. Officials had earlier said 22 bodies had been recovered, though dozens of people remained missing.

A reporter for ETV television, who said he had seen the corpses, said that most appeared to be unit commanders.