Six shot dead in Bangladesh’s restive southeastern hills: police

At least six tribal activists were shot dead Tuesday in an ambush by a rival group in Bangladesh’s restive Chittagong Hill Tracts, where scores have died in an insurgency in recent years, police said.

Gunmen attacked supporters of a splinter group off the Jan Sanhati Samiti (JSS) insurgent movement at Bagmara in Bandarban district, about 400 kilometres southeast of the capital Dhaka, according to officers.

The splinter group’s district head was among the dead and three other people were critically wounded, S.M. Mobassher Hossain, deputy head of the Bandarban police, told AFP.

The JSS is the main insurgent group in Bangladesh’s three Chittagong hill districts that include Bandarban.

It fought a battle with government forces that claimed about 2,500 lives in the area from the early 1980s until a peace treaty was signed in 1997.

Despite the accord and withdrawal of most troops from the region, unrest has continued as tribal groups demand key clauses of the deal be implemented, including dismantling the villages of Bengali settlers and army camps.

In recent years insurgent groups have splintered, setting off in-fighting that has claimed scores of lives including several faction leaders.

In March last year seven people were killed during a battle in Bandarban.