By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, July 7 (IANS) Six indigenous activists were shot dead on 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.
The incident is alarming as it shows the power conflict between several insurgent groups in the hill tracts of Bangladesh, said an official to IANS.
Locals and police said the killing might have taken place over establishing supremacy by two regional groups in the area. Three injured persons were admitted to Sadar Hospital.
Last March, a 31-member committee of JSS reformist group was formed. After the formation of the new committee, a rivalry began between the reformists and JSS (Santu Larma) groups.
The incident took place at around 5 am on Tuesday near Baghmara Bazar in Rajbila union, 20 km from the district town.
Local Union Parisad member Se Pru Marma said an armed group stormed into the house of reformist JSS president in the morning and started firing indiscriminately, killing the five on the spot.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh have been affected by what has been described as ‘genocide’ or ‘ethnic cleansing’ for many years, say activists.
In the 1960s and 1970s, thousands were forced off their lands to make way for reservoirs and hydroelectric projects, a displacement made worse by massacres against the Jumma people (the collective name for all indigenous peoples in the region). In 1997 a peace accord recognised the rights of the Jumma people over their lands.