A deadly clash between two ethnic groups in Bangladesh has claimed eight lives and left scores injured. An additional police force has been deployed in south-eastern Bandarban district fearing more violence among the feuding groups.
According to local media reports, a gunfight had erupted between the two groups on Thursday night in the rugged terrains of Rowangchhar, touted to be the hotbed of insurgency.
Following the clashes, nearly 200 people fled their homes, fearing violence among feuding groups, and took refuge at an army camp at Roangchhari.
Local media say that there has been no previous record of the two groups confronting each other, and are unclear what could have caused the gun attack.
The police believe that the suspects were members of the newly-formed outfit called Kuki Chin Front (KNF)—a break-away faction of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF).
The UPDF is a regional political party based in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
KNF was formed in 1998 and claims to seek a fully autonomous Hill Tracts through peaceful and democratic means.
Security officials claim that the KNF is an armed group mostly dominated by the Bom ethnic community. They have reportedly formed an alliance with an Islamist militant group in the hills.
The KNF claims it represents six of the 16 ethnic minority groups of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
They want a separate state to be formed with several sub-districts of two of the three hill districts.
The security agencies have launched a manhunt to track down and arrest the KNF chief, Nathan Bome.
Meanwhile, authorities are maintaining heightened security in the affected areas. In the event of further violence, they may enact movement-restrictive measures, such as imposing a curfew in the region, officials added.
Police officer Abdul Mannan said that they have recovered eight bodies from the scene, and were brought to the district on Friday for autopsy and other legal formalities, reports PTI news agency.
(With inputs from agencies)
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