29. Telegram From the Embassy in Bangladesh to the Department of State and the Defense Intelligence Agency1

5608. Subject: Internal Security.

1. We understand there was heavy involvement of Air Force personnel in attempted coup early this morning October 2. 120 coup suspects have been rounded up as of midday, and an estimated 250 were involved, according to reliable source.

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2. EmbOff was told by Bangladesh Red Cross official, who assisted in aftermath of attack at the airport, that 41 bodies of rebel troops were removed by Red Cross from the tower area. Some were young Air Force officers. All rebels there were killed. We have also learned that an undetermined number of rebel dead were also removed by military from site of rebel attack at officers’ mess across from airport. Heavy rebel losses also reported there.

3. Australian High Commissioner told the Ambassador today he had spoken to wife of Air Vice Marshal Mahmood. She said loyalist forces killed when coup forces stormed airport tower early this morning included seven Air Force military police (provos) and four Air Force officers. The officers included Mrs. Mahmood’s brother-in-law (unnamed), the base commander, and an officer named Nabi. Mrs. Mahmood said her husband “miraculously escaped”. We understand, as reported earlier, that he was slightly wounded. He did not return to airport tower. A Bangladesh Biman official told EmbOff that altogether 14 Air Force officers were killed in the tower attack.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770359–0814. Confidential. Sent Priority to the Department of State.