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Sunday, May 16, 2010

2 reported killed in Rangamati gunfight

Courtesy: New Age, Front page, 16 May 2010

2 reported killed in Rangamati gunfight

Staff Correspondent

A fierce fighting between two groups of ethnic minorities in the remote hills of Jurachhari upazila in Rangamati on Saturday reportedly left at least two people killed and two others critically injured.
Locals said the gunfight had erupted in Chota Panchhari area, eight kilometres from Jurachhari upazila headquarters, early in the morning and continued for about an hour. They said two activists of the Santu Larma-led faction of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti were killed and two others were injured in the fighting.
The dead were Rupayan Chakma Tapan and Sohag Chakma, they said. Laksmichandra Chakma and Purnachandra Chakma sustained injuries.
But official sources could not confirm the incident. They said law enforces had visited the spot but found no evidence a fighting had taken place there.
The feuding groups fled the scene taking the bodies and the injured with them as soon as the police and security forces arrived, the locals said.
The Rangamati police superintendent said they had heard the new of a gunfight and police teams and army troops had been sent to the spot but they found no one dead or injured there. He said the locals were telling that two people were killed but the police could not confirm it as they found no bodies or injured person.
The upazila nirbahi officer of Jurachhari, Abu Ali Mohammad Sajjad Hossain, told local newsmen that the police, army and local administration had gone to the spot but found no evidence to substantiate the locals’ claims. ‘The locals said a fierce gunfight had taken place and that they were frightened,’ he said.
People in Jurachhari said the area was earlier dominated by the Santu Larma-led faction of Jana Sanghati Samiti, but their rival United People’s Democratic Front had taken control of the area in recent time that led to repeated gunfights.
Three activists of hardline UPDF were killed in the area in past three months and Saturday’s incident might be a reprisal, they said.
A leader of the Rangamati district unit UPDF, Michael Chakma, denied the group’s involvement in any such fighting. ‘It is the manifestation of conflicts within the Santu Larma-led faction of Jana Sanghati Samiti over share of extortion money in the area. The UPDF has no relation with it. Conflicts in the JSS are nothing new. In recent past, a rebel group of the faction formed a new party through holding a council,’ he said.
Sajib Chakma, assistant information and publicity secretary of JSS, told newsmen that they were informed about the death of two persons but could not confirm their identities

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