• Short Summary

    In East Pakistan, villagers near Dacca claim their homes were devastated after Government troops had moved through looking for rebels.

  • Description

    In East Pakistan, villagers near Dacca claim their homes were devastated after Government troops had moved through looking for rebels.

    The villagers said thousand have been killed near Dacca over the past few weeks as the Mukti Bahini forces moved through the area preparing for a frontal assault with the Pakistani army.

    Visnews cameraman Sepp Riff shot this film, which is supplied with a commentary in English by Ronald Robson of the British Broadcasting Corporation. This may be used if required and a transcript appears below.

    SYNOPSIS: This village is on the outskirts of Dacca, reachable only by boat or by helicopter. There are hundreds of villages like this within a few miles of the East Pakistani city, and the Visnews cameraman who shot this film visited four or five -- all of them devastated like this one.

    The villagers say Pakistani soldiers had moved through the area looking for Mukti Bahini guerrillas, and claim they spared no one, regardless of age or sex. They said the operation had continued for three days. When the soldiers came, most of the villagers fled until they had gone. They wanted the cameraman to cover many square miles (kms) where, they said, the situation was the same and that thousands had been killed in the search operation. All had returned to find their houses wrecked and their supplies ruined.

    The camera team filmed at least six corpses, but couldn't go on finding more to record at the villagers' insistence. There were no soldiers in the area, and no cartridge cases to show there had been any fighting. If there were any rebels -- Mukti Bahini guerrillas -- in the village, the camera team could not identify them. All the people were in village dress and there was no sign of any arms or ammunition...the villagers insisted there had never been any rebels there.

    Rebels have been in the area -- an estimated two to three thousand are thought to be around Dacca. But conflicting reports make it difficult to blame damage like this on either the Mukti Bahini or the Government forces. One thing is certain -- neither the rebels nor the soldiers can use this village now. The dead child was neither a rebel nor a soldier.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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