At least five people, including a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) soldier and three members of a family, were killed in a clash between villagers and the para-military force over cutting trees in Khagrachhari on Tuesday.
Besides, at least three more were injured in the fight that broke out on Tuesday morning at Alutila Battoli area in Matiranga upazila of the hill district.
The deceased were identified as BGB soldier Shawn, villager Shahab Mia (70), his two sons – Akbar Ali (30) and Ahammad Ali (22), and a local named Md Mofiz Mia.
Meanwhile, Shahab Mia's wife Ronju Begum suffered a cardiac arrest after hearing the death news of the three members of her family. She was seriously ill until filing of the report.
Locals said, at around 11:30am on Tuesday, a few trees were cut in the village to install power lines.
Shahab Mia and his one son Ahammad Ali were taking those trunks to a saw-mill at Gazinagar Bazar area when a BGB team appeared there and asked them to refrain from doing that.
Shahab Mia told the BGB team that they had legal documents to do it, but the members of the para-military force kept insisting them to stop.
At one stage, both parties got engaged in an altercation and subsequently in a violent fight. BGB opened fire that left Shahab Mia and Akbar Ali dead on the spot.
Locals also said BGB member Shawn, and Ahammad Ali, Mofiz Mia and Hanif Mia were hit by bullets and taken to the upazila health complex where Shawn and Ahammad died. Meanwhile, Mofiz died on the way to Chattogram Medical College Hospital.
Matiranga police arrested two suspects in connection with the incident.
Shamsuddin Bhuiyan, officer-in-charge of the police station, said the suspects were arrested for questioning.
Matiranga Upazila Family Planning Officer Dr Khairul Alam said, "Two bodies have been brought to the hospital so far [until Tuesday afternoon]. The bodies have gunshot wounds on them."
On the other hand, two of the injured people were sent to Chattogram Medical College Hospital for better treatment.
Police said they would file a case in this connection.
Khorshed Alam, senior assistant superintendent of police (Matiranga circle), said, "The reason of the clash could not be known immediately. And, we cannot say anything until the investigation [into the incident] is over."
A three-member probe committee, headed by the additional district magistrate of Khagrachhari, would be formed for a proper investigation into the incident, said Pratap Chandra Biswas, deputy commissioner of Khagrachhari. He was talking to locals in the afternoon.
Guimara Region Commander of Army Brigadier General Mohammad Shahriar Zaman said the people responsible for the incident will be brought to justice.
"No one is above the law. The higher authorities have already been informed about the incident," he said.
"But, the entire force cannot be blamed only because of a few misguided members of it," he said in reply to a public demand of withdrawing the BGB camp from the area.