Ref: Gunmen shot dead four members of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) of Chittagong Hill Tracts, including central leader Animesh Chakma, in a fierce attack allegedly by rivals in the backwoods of Barkal upazila on Saturday morning.
The other deceased are Purna Bhushan Chakma, Pulok Chakma and Shukrosen Chakma.
Confirming the killings, UPDF district organizer Alokesh Chakma blamed their rival Jana Sanghati Samity (JSS), led by Santu Larma, for the gun attack.
Police, however, said they recovered only one body from the spot.
The UPDF initially claimed five of its leaders-activists to have been killed in the shooting. But the tribal organization later said Joy Tanchangya, who was also feared slain in the attack, managed to escape unhurt.
Party sources said “JSS cadres” attacked the UPDF activists at Party House in Mitingachhari area at about 8:30am, leaving the four dead on the spot.
Barkal thana second officer AKM Idris Hossain said, “We’ve been informed about a gunfight. Police force went to the scene. Details can be known on their return.”
He said one dead body was recovered from the scene. He was identified as Prabeen Chakma. The body will be sent to Rangamati hospital for postmortem.
Leaders of the JSS, however, denied their involvement in the killings.
Central information and publicity secretary of JSS Sajib Chakma said, “We do not do armed politics. JSS believes in democratic movement. These all are propaganda against us by the UPDF.”
The deadly attack took place a day after JSS supreme leader and CHT Regional Council chairman Santu Larma blamed government for giving patronage to the anti-peace-pact UPDF “terrorists“.
Meanwhile, UPDF brought out processions and held rallies in Kutukchhari, Naniarchar, Jurachhari and other places in the hill district in protest against the killings.
Central leader of Pahari Chhatra Parishad Angikar Marma told banglanews, “The killings took place following Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan’s provocative statement given to BBC Friday.”
The Home Secretary told BBC that the government has decided to ban UPDF activities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts as the government thinks UPDF is responsible for deteriorating law and order in the region.
He also informed that a high-powered meeting was held on CHT issues. The meeting was told that UPDF is committing murder, extortion, violence and other ‘anti-social acts’ for establishing its supremacy in CHT region.
But, the home secretary did not specify the date for slapping the ban on UPDF activities.