Signs of horror at scene of Bangladesh mutiny

Dhaka - Blood stains, broken plant pots and bullet holes identify the house of the senior Bangladeshi army officer who was butchered by his own men in a mutiny last week.

The two-storey red brick residence inside the leafy compound in Dhaka has been overrun by forensic experts trying to piece together the grisly events of last week that resulted in the deaths of at least 74 people.

"It looks more like a movie set than a military headquarters," Abdul Awal, a military press official, told AFP as he surveyed the house belonging to Major General Shakil Ahmed, the murdered chief of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

"It's very difficult to work out exactly what happened here but that is what the investigators will try to do," said Awal, who looked exhausted after days without sleep.

"If you go inside, it's terrible," he said, pointing at the house which still held the stench of dead bodies days after they were removed.

Fading blood stains on the main staircase are thought to be from the body of Ahmed's wife as she was dragged away.

The mutineers threw a grenade into the property before entering, according to the military, and then shot dead those inside - including two female guests and a maid servant - before ransacking the rooms for valuables.

Ahmed himself was out of the house at the time but was slain, along with dozens of other senior army officials, in a hall elsewhere on the compound.

Navy divers have recovered mutilated and decomposing corpses stuffed inside manholes, drains and sewers and in two shallow mass graves. Fifty of the dead, including Ahmed and his wife, were buried on Monday following a state funeral.

Soldiers have also discovered live grenades and bullets strewn in the gardens of the compound, as well as hundreds of rifles, pistols and machine guns looted by the mutineers from the BDR arsenal.

"I can't tell you exactly what we have found. It's not possible to count," Awal said.

So far, 900 BDR troops have been allowed to return to their barracks, with another 5 000 waiting outside as officers check their credentials. About 1 000 others are on the run and wanted for questioning over the mutiny.

The government has already said it will change the BDR's name so the border guard units can start afresh.

Almost a week after the 33-hour orgy of violence, no one is entirely sure who was responsible, how many people were involved and how they managed to take control of the compound.

But despite the evidence of brutality that surrounded him, Awal tried to strike a note of confidence.

"We are a resilient nation," he said. "The truth will come out and we will move on from this." - AFP

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