3,000 ar­rested in Bangladesh as PM vows to catch killers

Pakistan Observer - - 07 -

DHAKA—Bangladesh po­lice have ar­rested more than 3,000 peo­ple in a sweep­ing na­tion­wide crack­down fol­low­ing a spate of grue­some mur­ders, they said Satur­day, as the prime min­is­ter vowed to catch “each and ev­ery killer”.

Those de­tained in­clude 37 sus­pected Is­lamist mil­i­tants and hun­dreds of po­ten­tial crim­i­nals who pre­vi­ously had war­rants out against them, as well as sev­eral hun­dred or­di­nary ar­rests, po­lice said.

Bangladesh is reel­ing from a wave of bru­tal killings that have spiked in re­cent weeks, with re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, sec­u­lar thinkers and lib­eral ac­tivists the chief tar­gets.

“We have ar­rested 3,155 peo­ple in­clud­ing 37 Is­lamist mil­i­tants as part of the spe­cial drive over the last 24 hours,” A.K.M Shahidur Rah­man, deputy po­lice in­spec­tor general told AFP.

“The mil­i­tants in­cluded 27 mem­bers of Ja­mayetul Mu­jahideen Bangladesh (JMB),” he said.

The JMB is one of the main do­mes­tic mil­i­tant out­fits blamed by the gov­ern­ment, which re­jects claims from Is­lamic State group and a South Asian branch of Al-Qaeda that they are be­hind the killings.

The coun­try’s Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina told a meet­ing of her rul­ing Awami League party Satur­day that po­lice would stamp out the vi­o­lence.

“It may take time, but God will­ing, we will be able to bring them un­der con­trol,” Hasina told a meet­ing of her rul­ing Awami League party on Satur­day.

“Where will the crim­i­nals hide? Each and ev­ery killer will be brought to book as we did af­ter the 2015 may­hem,” she said, re­fer­ring to a deadly trans­port block­ade last year or­gan­ised by op­po­si­tion par­ties.

How­ever, Bangladesh op­po­si­tion par­ties im­me­di­ately ac­cused the po­lice of us­ing the crack­down to sup­press po­lit­i­cal dis­sent.

“Hun­dreds of op­po­si­tion ac­tivists have been ar­rested in the po­lice drive,” Bangladesh Na­tion­al­ist Party (BNP) sec­re­tary general Fakhrul Is­lam Alam­gir told AFP.

“In the name of the crack­down against Is­lamist mil­i­tants, many or­di­nary and in­no­cent peo­ple are be­ing de­tained.”

Hasina has ac­cused the BNP and the coun­try’s largest Is­lamist party, Ja­maat-e-Is­lami, of or­ches­trat­ing the at­tacks af­ter they failed to top­ple the gov­ern­ment in last year’s trans­port block­ade.

Po­lice de­tained some 350 peo­ple in the coun­try’s sec­ond­largest city of Chit­tagong and its sur­round­ing ar­eas.

They in­clude one sus­pect in the mur­der of Mah­muda Begum, the wife of a top an­titer­ror po­lice of­fi­cer who was fa­tally stabbed and shot last week­end.—AFP

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