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100 Leftist Rebels Surrender in Amnesty Program

January 7, 1988

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ More than 100 communist rebels surrendered their weapons and were granted amnesty from prosecution, police said today.

In another development, 14 people were wounded when bombs were hurled and shots fired during a clash at Chittagong University between supporters and opponents of President Hussain Muhammad Ershad.

Police said more than 10,000 villagers cheered as 107 members of the East Bengal Proletariat Party surrendered their arms in a ceremony Wednesday at Narsingdi, 20 miles east of Dhaka.

Kutubur Rahman, Narsingdi police chief, said the rebels gave up at least a dozen Chinese-made rifles and some ammunition. He did not give further details.

The Proletariat Party advocates armed revolution to overthrow the government. The party was launched in 1973 and, according to government estimates, has more than 2,000 active rebels.

Rahman said the surrender followed police searches in the area Monday.

″We offered amnesty and at the same time launched our operation. This tactic worked. The surrender was a big success,″ Rahman said.

He said the party’s rebels had killed 68 people in the Narsingdi area since 1974, but he could not give the figures for the whole country.

In Chittagong, 130 miles southeast of Dhaka, a group of students armed with bombs and revolvers tried to take over a university residence hall occupied by another group Wednesday night, police said. The police, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to identify the groups.

A professor contacted by telephone in Chittagong said the raiders were supporters of Ershad’s governing Jatiya Party.

The professor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ershad supporters lived in the residence hall until last year, when they were evicted by supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, a Moslem fundamentalist party.

Jamaat-e-Islami and other opposition parties have staged nearly two months of general strikes and protests in Dhaka, Chittagong and other cities in an attempt to force Ershad to resign.

Twelve students, a former student and a youth described by police as ″an ordinary hoodlum″ were injured in the clash, police said.

The 12 students were treated and released, while the two others were hospitalized in serious condition, police said. They did not give the political affiliations of the injured.

The university has been closed since Nov. 27 when Ershad imposed a state of emergency and banned public political activities. It is scheduled to reopen this weekend.

Update hourly