12:00 AM, March 02, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 02, 2009

Most officers killed by 11 in the morning

Says Lt Colonel Shams

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Staff Correspondent

Most of the BDR Jawaans who killed the army officers during the BDR mutiny were quite young and most of the killings were carried out and over between 10:30 to 11:00 am, immediately after the chaos started at Darbar Hall at the BDR headquarters.
This eyewitness account of that fateful day came from a survivor officer, Lt. Colonel Shams, commander of Battalion-44, as he recounted what he saw in an interview published in several newspapers.
Lt Col Shams said when the Director General of BDR Shakil Ahmed was delivering his speech at the Darbar, a Jawan aimed an SMG rifle at the DG and he (Lt Col Shams) jumped up and pushed this man over, who was visibly unable to fire and was trembling as he approached the DG.
As a chaos ensued, the army officers were sent out to calm down the Jawaans who had left the hall. Once outside, Lt Col Shams noticed a group of young Jawans, all firing their guns approaching the Darbar Hall from gate number 5.
During the mayhem that followed, some BDR JCO from battalion 44, including Subeder Saiful, Siraj and Ismail, told Shams that the situation was out of control and helped him escape the scene, taking him to their quarters at Al Beruni Bhaban.
As he was escaping, Lt Col Shams saw a grey-coloured pick-up approaching the Darbar Hall from the gate number 5, apparently loaded with boxes of ammunition.
Shams said that he had never seen such a pickup used in either the BDR or the army. By the time he had reached Al Beruni Bhaban, he could hear the sound of firing at the Darbar hall.
"It was between 10:30 am to 11:00 am and I assume most of the officers were killed during that time," he said in the interview.
"The Jawans took me to their house and told me that my life would be in no danger as long as they were alive. They took off my badge and uniform and gave me clothes to wear. I hid in that house for the next two days,' the Lt Col said.
"Whenever any rebelling Jawans came near the house to search, I would hide in the floor compartment of a box bed," Shams said expressing his gratitude to those who saved his life at such a time.
During the evening of February 25, Shams said he saw cleaners going into the Darbar Hall with cloths and he also recalls seeing ambulances going there and he realised that these people were going to clean up the place and remove the bodies of the officers killed.
Though the rebels had at the beginning announced over microphones that they had enough ammunition to continue to fight for six months, the next morning (Thursday) they began to call on all not to misuse the bullets.
Lt Col Shams said that the situation inside the BDR headquarters seemed to calm down on February 26 following the prime minister's speech that was aired on television.
"The prime minister's speech worked like a wonder. The tension seemed to ease. Groups of Jawans started surrendering arms following the speech," the Lt Col said in the interview.
Shams said that most of the Jawans appeared gloomy to him, following the prime minister's speech.
Shams also saw many Jawans fleeing the BDR headquarters in civil clothes on the second day of the mutiny.

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