DHAKA, May 21 -- Former army chief Lt. Gen. Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim, whose firing Monday by President Abdur Rahman Biswas sparked a rebellion in the army, has been arrested, officials said Tuesday. 'The former chief is under custody of the military police and is being interned in the VIP officers' mess,' said an army official who declined to be identified.
Nasim was arrested at 3:00 a.m. Tuesday after tanks surrounded his office in Dhaka cantonment for two hours, the official said. The official could not say whether Nasim would be charged with any crime, although Biswas in his televised speech Monday evening accused the ex-chief of 'actions tantamount to mutiny.' Nasim's arrest came as several thousand rebellious troops from the garrison in Bogra, 155 miles (250 km) northwest of Dhaka, continued to defy government orders to return to barracks. Troops from the garrison of Mymensigh, some 62 miles (100 km) to the north of Dhaka, have called it a day and returned to barracks peacefully after an abortive attempt to march on the capital, officials said. Rebel troops from Bogra drove in convoys to the Nagarbari ferry jetty on the Jamuna river Monday night, but were unable to cross because the port on the other side remained under government control, witnesses said. The jetty at Aricha on the southern bank of the river, which is the gateway to the capital some 50 miles (80 km) further south, is being controlled by loyalist troops backed by tanks from the crack IX Division garrisoned at Savar near Dhaka.