Kerry in Bangladesh for anti-militant talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on combatting extremism yesterday as police killed members of an Islamist group blamed for a deadly cafe siege.
After weekend talks in Geneva on Syria, Mr Kerry arrived in the capital Dhaka for his first official visit to deepen cooperation between the two countries including on economic development and human rights.
But the one-day trip is expected to focus on mounting concerns of Islamist violence in the impoverished nation, after gunmen last month attacked an upscale cafe in Dhaka and killed 22 people, mainly foreigners.
“Let me say what a great pleasure it is to be with the prime minister and to be here in Bangladesh,” Mr Kerry said of his meeting with Ms Hasina and other top officials.
Just hours before Mr Kerry’s arrival, Bangladesh police shot dead two suspected members of the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) blamed for the cafe siege.
The suspected militants, including a regional JMB commander, were killed during a gunbattle in the northern town of Sherpur town.
The shootings came just two days after police killed the suspected mastermind of the cafe attack outside Dhaka. Police named the suspect as JMB leader Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian.
Talks between the two countries have intensified in recent months, with the US engaging with Bangladesh police and the military charged with tackling extremists.
Bangladesh has been reeling from a series of attacks in the past three years, including on foreigners, rights activists and religious minorities.
Mr Kerry is due to meet with civic leaders as well as embattled Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia, a bitter rival of Hasina. –
US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) shakes hand with Bangladesh counterpart Mahmood Ali as US ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat (second right) looks on at Dhaka airport yesterday.