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Bangladesh buries teenage war hero with state honors

DHAKA (Reuters) - With a full state honors, Bangladesh on Tuesday laid to rest a teenage war hero killed almost four decades ago fighting Pakistani forces during the country’s independence war.

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Hamidur Rahman died in 1971 at the age of 17 while raiding a Pakistani military post in what was then known as East Pakistan, which months later gained independence and became Bangladesh.

Fellow fighters carried away Rahman’s body and buried it in a village in neighboring India which supported Bangladesh’s independence struggle.

His remains were brought home from India on Monday and the body was reburied in a graveyard in the capital Dhaka following a state ceremony attended by President Iajuddin Ahmed, supreme commander of the Bangladeshi armed forces.

Thousands of people lined the streets as a motorcade carrying Rahman’s coffin, draped in the Bangladeshi flag, passed by.

Army chief General Moeen U Ahmed, head of the interim government Fakhruddin Ahmed and hundreds of civil and military officials also attended the ceremony.

The young soldier attacked two Pakistani machinegun posts and destroyed them before falling in a hail of bullets.

Rahman is the youngest of seven war heroes posthumously conferred Bangladesh’s highest gallantry award “Birsrestha” for their role in the freedom struggle.

Rahman was reburied beside the grave of another war hero Motiur Rahman, whose remains were brought back to Bangladesh from Pakistan last year.

Motiur, a flight lieutenant in the Pakistan air force, died in a crash in August in 1971 while trying to flee Pakistan with a training aircraft to join Bangladeshi liberation forces in India.

Motiur had been buried in Karachi in disgrace by Pakistani authorities.

Reporting by Nizam Ahmed, writing by Anis Ahmed, editing by Rosalind Russell