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Bangladesh Reimposes Night-Time Curfew In Southeast Town

Bangladesh is reported to have taken nearly 80 persons into custody and reimposed curfew for a second consecutive night in a troubled southeastern hill town.

This follows Tuesday's ethnic clashes and arson between local Buddhist tribesmen and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers that left a Bengali settler dead and scores of others injured besides 66 houses reduced to ashes.

"The curfew has been enforced again for tonight as we feared deterioration of the situation," the officer incharge of police at Khagrachhari town said. The curfew, imposed Tuesday night in the southeastern hilltract town of Khagrachhari, was withdrawn around 7:00 A.M. Wednesday.

The town wore a deserted look amid reports of fresh violence breaking out, even as troops and members of the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion patrolled the streets of the town in the day.

Police said 76 persons, including both Bengalis and tribesmen, were arrested overnight for defying the curfew and for their suspected involvement in Tuesday's clash that followed last week's violence at the remote Sajek Valley of neighboring Baghaichhari sub-district.

Meanwhile, Shamsul Haque Tuku, Minister for Home Affairs, appealed Wednesday to the indigenous community and Bengali settlers living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to maintain peaceful co-existence, shunning the path of violence.

"The government is committed to maintaining a peaceful order in the region so that both the Bengali and tribal people can live here upholding their own traditions and cultures," the minister said at a meeting at the local circuit house.

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