Ex-military men held over arms

Investigators have detained two former chiefs of Bangladesh's national security intelligence for their alleged connection with an aborted bid to smuggle a huge cache of arms and ammunition five year ago.

Investigators have detained two former chiefs of Bangladesh's national security intelligence for their alleged connection with an aborted bid to smuggle a huge cache of arms and ammunition five year ago.

Police detectives arrested retired Major-General Rezaqul Haider Chowdhury and retired BrigadierGeneral Abdur Rahim at their homes in Dhaka early on Saturday, an officer said.

Rahim was the head of national security intelligence, while Haider was director of the directorate general of forces intelligence, the military agency involved in the haul of 10 truckloads of arms and ammunition at a government jetty in the port city of Chittagong on April 2 2004.

Investigators said both the former security bosses were being taken to Chittagong to testify in the trial of other former officials previously charged in the smuggling case.

The two retired military chiefs were arrested based on confessions by another former national security intelligence director, retired wing commander Sahab Uddin, and field officer Akbar Hossain Khan, who were arrested earlier.

In his statement to the Chittagong court, Uddin implicated several senior intelligence officers and officials at the prime minister's office during the five-year rule of Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance of Khaleda Zia.

Police recovered a total of 4930 sophisticated firearms; 27020 grenades; 840 rocket launchers; 300 accessories of rocket launchers; 2000 grenade-launching tubes; 6392 magazines and more than a million bullets while they were being loaded onto trucks from motorboats at Chittagong Urea Fertiliser's jetty on April 2 2004. - Sapa-dpa

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