Osmani says 20,000 Pakistani troops killed
July 24, 1971
FOREIGNERS GIVEN WARNING IN DHAKA
Foreigners in Dhaka were warned this week to avoid Chinese restaurants, which apparently became the latest targets for Bangladeshi guerillas.
The Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra reported this week that two West Pakistani officers were killed by Mukti Bahini members who threw a bomb into a Chinese restaurant in Dhaka.
During the last two weeks, bombs or grenades had been exploded every night in Dhaka. Today, an army truck hit a mine in a Dhaka suburb. The Pakistan army quickly imposed a curfew on the neighbourhood.
The guerrillas said movie theaters in East Pakistan would be attacked. Bangalee guerillas sought to disrupt the government's examinations early this week throwing several grenades at exam venues. Only about a quarter of the registered applicants showed up to sit for the examination.
Foreigners and others had been warned to be careful when travelling to East Pakistan, especially by road. Drivers were advised to set out in the afternoon, to allow time for clearing or detonation of any mines laid during the night, and to drive in the centre of the road to avoid any mines at the sides.
Attacks against bridges and other communications by the guerrillas reportedly increased markedly in the last two weeks.
Major Khaled, commander of the Mukti Fauj's eastern sector, when told of a Times report that the military administration suspected Indian engineering skill behind these acts of sabotage, particularly disruption of power supply, seemed vastly amused. He said: "There is certainly some specialised skill involved. A qualified and experienced engineer tells us what to do, and my boys go and do it. But this skill has come from Bangladesh itself."
OSMANI'S INTERVIEW WITH TIMES
East Bengal freedom fighters claimed to have killed between 15,000 and 20,000 West Pakistani troops and wounded many others so seriously that they "must have succumbed to their injuries in hospital".
In a special interview with Times (London), Colonel MA Osmani, commander-in- chief of the Bangladesh forces, said he was speaking exclusively of losses suffered by the Pakistan army, implying that the enemy casualties did not include informers and collaborators killed by freedom fighters.
Colonel Osmani further said, "The enemy is receiving very considerable quantities of arms and sophisticated military hardware from more than one country, a situation in which my liberation forces find themselves in a serious handicap -- if the liberation forces were adequately equipped the impact of my operation would have been still more spectacular and would have brought to a speedy end the savagery of a nature that the worst of Hitler's brigands would have been ashamed of."
MORE ARMS AID TO PAKISTAN SEEN
American Senator Stuart Symington disclosed today that the US administration still intended to permit approximately $15 million in arms to be shipped to Pakistan despite repeated official statements implying that a total embargo had been imposed on arms since war broke out in East Pakistan.
Senior officials privately confirmed that about $15 million worth of arms, now in the hands of Pakistani government officials in the US, might be transported to Pakistan as soon as shipping and other administrative arrangements could be arranged.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at email@example.com