Dhaka: Bangladesh army on Thursday said it has foiled a plot inside the force to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government and have arrested two former officers besides launching a manhunt for a fugitive officer while some 16 others are being kept under strict military vigil.

"We have already unveiled a plot to topple the democratic government mounting in Bangladesh army, in which several in service officers were found to be involved," said an army spokesman at a hurriedly called press conference.

Brigadier General Mohammad Masud Razzak told the crowded press conference at Dhaka Cantonment that 14 to 16 officers were under vigil as investigations were underway on the their suspected involvement while the detained two former officers "bluntly admitted their role in the plot".

"Stringent legal measures will be taken against the persons involved in the conspiracy after proper investigations," Razzak said.

He declined to give details about the plot or the suspects but said they all were officers of "middle level" and the officer on the run was a major and of the arrested two one was a former Lieutenant Colonel and another was a Major.

"Banking on the army in the past, different evil forces availed political gains and made abortive attempts to do so but as an institution, military still has to bear the stigma," Razzak said.

The Awami League led by Hasina assumed power in 2009.

(Agencies)