Monday, August 10, 2009

Update: CHT Withdrawal Continues...

As expected Bengali settlers in the CHT protested the departure of the Army per the Awami League government's upholding of the 1997 Peace Treaty. Though fear and reservations will be expressed by the Bengali settlers in the next few months, they will probably prove to be unfounded. Regardless, in order to maintain the trust of the various communities the local security forces must be ready, and able, to fill the gaps that the Army is leaving.
The real security risk won't come from the adhivasi community in the CHT; it will come from the Bengali settlers, some of whom may become overwhelmed by a seige mentality and feelings of abandonment by the government and Army. As long as the remaining security forces can keep this fear in check the CHT will be well on its way to a normal security atmosphere.
For the moment, 2,000 protestors blocking the departure of the army camp in Dighalchhari (Barkal sub-district, Rangamati) should be taken as a sign that the Army is still a respected institution in the country, despite allegations from certain members of the Opposition (Daily Star).
The Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) responsible for the administration of the sub-district indicated that he did not feel "any security crisis" was present. Hopefully, this feeling (and reality) remains.

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