Bangladesh calls for foreign assistance to fight terror
Bangladesh on Tuesday sought assistance from the international community to fight radical Islamists as authorities are apparently trying to coming out from the long standing state of denial about the nature and gravity of terror threat in the country.
In the aftermath of latest terrorist attack on a Dhaka cafe that left 20 hostages dead, Foreign Affairs minister AH Mahmood Ali today met the diplomats and Home Affairs minister Asaduzzman Khan Kamal appeared in a press briefing seeking cooperation as security agencies made desperate attempts to trace those behind Friday’s carnage at the capitals diplomatic zone upsclae cafe.
Asaduzzman Mia, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told reporters investigators were questioning several people, including a former university teacher and the son of an industrialist. He said several family members of the hostages and possible suspects were also being questioned but did not give details.
“We are investigating all aspects. There are some people under our care…They are being questioned,” he said.
Briefing a group of about 50 diplomats in Dhaka, Foreign minister Ali said he hoped foreign friends would come forward to share intelligence with Bangladesh. Around 50 diplomats, mostly ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries, including the USA, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, India, Pakistan, France, European Union, Brazil and Egypt, attended the briefing.
“Law enforcement agencies are on high alert and security measures have been beefed up,” he told diplomats and representatives of UN agencies as the biggest-ever recent terrorist attack made the international community living in Bangladesh worried.
The home minister told a news briefing that the government is seeking assistance from the neighboring and friendly countries to fight against militancy and terrorism noting that the government is committed to eradicate such obstacles.
“The government is committed to rooting out all kinds of militant activities. I’m calling for assistance from the neighboring and friendly countries in this regard,” he said.
Asaduzzaman underscored the need for forging a social movement involving all people irrespective of their party and opinions and guardians so that no evil force can derail the youth and push them towards the immature death, and thwart the country’s ongoing development.
The minister did not take any questions at the briefing amid confusion over two suspected attackers. Six men were killed by commandos at the café and a seventh was arrested but the families of one of the dead and the detained men said both were restaurant staffers.
A case filed late on Monday at Gulshan police station in Dhaka named only five of the attackers as Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam and Shafiqul Islam.
Security officials found four pistols, an AK-22 rifle, four IEDs, a walkie-talkie and sharp weapons at the café.
Since the start of recent series of terror attacks, Bangladesh government is denying presence of IS or any other international terror group. But during the Gulshan cafe seize, the photos of the gunmen and victims were firsh published on IS affiliated sites as reported by SITE Intelligence, later in the evening Bangladesh police released the same gunmen photos.
Experts and commentators in Bangladesh are saying that, though the youth militants are in fact home grown but trained in Middle Eastern countries and affiliated with International jihadists.
A former official of Bangladeshi Army on Tuesday said, reportedly missing youths are probably fell prey to radicalization and left for Middle Eastern countries.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle Bangla service, Brigadier General (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, who is also a former Election Commissioner today said, ‘My personal belief is that, this number ranges from 150 to 200. A large portion of them are in many Middle Eastern countries.”