Incident Summary:

05/30/1981: President Ziaur Rahman of Bangledesh was attending a two hour political meeting to help resolve an intra-party dispute at a Circuit House in Chittagong. At 3:30AM the President was awoken by two rebel Army strike teams who freely entered the Chittagong Circuit House. The forty-four policemen on duty offered no resistence when the first team fired two shots, killing one constable and four of Ziar’s defenders, and accidentally wounding two of their own men. When inside, Lt-Col Matiur Rahman [Mahbubur], a Freedom Fighter, shot and killed General Ziaur.




South Asia

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
Ziaur Rahman was killed a Circuit House in Chittagong

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Assassination
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity President of Bangladesh
Specific Description Ziaur Rahman
Nationality of Target Bangladesh
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Handgun
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Weapon Details
A Sub-machine gun and hand rocket launcher were used.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information Lt-Col Mahboob and revolting Officers of the Bangledesh Army fired shots leading to injuries and deaths that occured during the event. However, Lt-Col Matiur Rahman was the one who shot and killed the President. Reports differ as to the number of casualties, as well as those captured, tried, charged and put to death. Reports give conflicting information regarding the involvement of Major General Abul Manzoor [Manjoor] in the military coup.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Awami League No
The Mukti Bahini No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 26
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 6 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 6
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 2
“Further Installment of White Paper on Chittagong Mutiny.” BBC Summary of World Reports, August 10, 1981, Internal Affairs Section
Singh, Nagendra Kr. Encyclopedia of Bangladesh: Bangladesh Post-Independence Politics-I. New Delhi: Mehra Offset Press, 2003.
Rangan, Kasturi. “Bangladesh Leader is Shot and Killed in Coup Attempt.” The New York Times, May 31, 1981, Section 1