6 army, BGB men die as mortar explodesMuktadir Rashid and Habib Khan
Two non-commissioned army officers and four Border Guard Bangladesh personnel died and 11 others became wounded as a mortar exploded while being primed for shelling in a firing range at Ghatail in Tangail on Wednesday.
The deceased were senior warrant officers Parvej, of 20 East Bengal, and Manjur, of 4 East Bengal, and BGB soldiers were lance corporal Muhammad Ali and sepoys Abu Sufian, Jinnat and Ekram who were taking part in a week-long heavy-weapon training, according an Inter-Service Public Relations statement and BGB officials.
The wounded were immediately taken off the firing range at Maidarchala and were taken to a military hospital in the 19th infantry division at Ghatail Shaheed Salauddin Cantonment, officials said.
Seven border guards who were wounded in the incident were immediately taken to Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka later in the day.
The injured Jinnat, a sepoy of the Border Guard Bangladesh, died in Combined Military Hospital in the Dhaka cantonment about 10:45pm. Officials said that the people who died were standing close to the mortar.
Major Farhad, now on deputation in the border force, among others, was also wounded but he was reported to be out of danger.
The ISPR director, Shaheenul Islam, said that the authorities were taking necessary steps.
BGB officials said that the explosion had taken place about midday ‘accidentally’ when the bomb exploded inside the mortar as soon as it was primed.
The injured border guards, however, were improving. The bodies of four of the five, who died on the spot, were taken out from Ghatail for burial.
The BGB director general, Major General Aziz Ahmed, visited the spot and monitored the rescue operation.
Aziz also announced Tk 5 lakh in compensation for each of the border guards who died in the incident.
He asked to senior BGB officers to launch an inquiry of the matter so that no such incident could take place in the future.
Another BGB official said that the mortar and the bomb were imported but failed to name the country of import.
BGB officials said 225 border guards were taking part in the exercise which began on February 9.
On completion the heavy-weapon training on Wednesday, BGB personnel from Dinajpur, Rangpur and Jaipurhat were scheduled to get back to their battalion.
The Ghatail police officer-in-charge, Fazlul Kabir, who visited the place, said that a general diary had been filed in this connection.
He said that they had not prepared any inquest report as the military police was supposed to do so.
Aziz, who was an artillery officer, told New Age that such an incident had taken place in the Hathazari firing range in Chittagong in 1982.
He said four army soldiers had died in the incident when the bomb exploded inside the 120mm mortar.
The Jatiya Party chairman, Hussein Muhammad Ershad, also a former chief of army staff, in a statement said that he had been shocked at the incident.
Many socio-cultural groups and political organisations offered condolences on the death.
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