Reuters International

DHAKA (Reuters) - Three people were killed on Monday when Bangladeshi riot police fired shots after coming under attack from demonstrators in a disturbance over a planned, Chinese-built power plant, authorities said.

S Alam Group, a Bangladeshi company, signed a deal earlier in the day with SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation of China to build the coal-fired plant in the coastal Chittagong district to produce 1,320 megawatts of electricity.

In the incident in the village of Banshkhali in Chittagong, 265 km (165 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka, groups of villagers for and against the power plant clashed and at one point some protesters targeted police, authorities said.

A police official said riot officers had sought to disperse the protesters peacefully and fired their weapons only after coming under attack. "Police opened fire on the mob and three people were killed," a police official told reporters.

Those villagers who were demonstrating against the plant were unhappy with the amount of compensation paid them for land acquired for the $1.8 billion plant project while those in favour had accepted the settlement.

A senior official of the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) told Reuters that the project was still at the green-field stage and would take at least four years to complete.

He said that the BPDB had already signed a separate deal to purchase electricity from S Alam Group.

(Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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