Blood continues to flow in the Chattogram Hill Tracts. The ambush on a convoy of election officials and their security personnel on Monday in Baghaichhari of Rangamati left six people dead and nearly two dozen injured, some of them hospitalised.
It is a very sad development in hills and highlights the country’s heightened security challenges in the hills or in brief CHT. The deadliest attack so far on election officials is being mourned and condemned across the country.Carrying out official duty in CHT region has never been without challenges, but these killings only made it clear that security needs to be tightened with the presence of cantonments.
Lives of the officials who are sent to CHT on duty will be prone to more stress and tighter security can only guarantee their safety.
Although no group has claimed the attack so far, it is speculated that one of the conflicting tribal groups - either UPDF or JSS - might be behind it. The incident is worrisome and alarming despite government efforts to ensure peace in the scenic region.
The most important task is to find out which group has in their possession such weapons as well as the capacity to plan such an “ambush” a convoy guarded by BGB, Police and Ansar men so that we do not have to see such an incident is repeated.
This incident raises the alarm bell for the government to re-think security mechanism in the hills. Never before has the situation looked so volatile in CHT after 1997 peace deal.
The government has brought down the number of army posts in the region in line with the 1997 peace accord. But now it appears that taking the advantage of lesser military presence in the CHT, the criminal groups are frequently engaging in turf wars, collecting tolls, creating disharmony among Bangalis and tribals living there and trying to destabilise the region. At least 53 people have been reportedly killed in the region during the past 15 months.The vested groups from time to time spread rumour to create animosity between the tribals and the Bangalis as well as the military personnel posted their to guard and undertake development works. This is very unfortunate.
The government must get to the bottom of the attack on election officials and bring the perpetrators to book. Besides, anyone trying to destabilise the region must be taken to task. We cannot afford to let lawlessness escalate any further in the hills. Let the Peace Pact be successful.