Threats prompt security alert in north-western Bangladesh
Friday, May 18, 2007 14:50 IST
DHAKA: Authorities in emergency-ruled Bangladesh has ordered an intensified security vigil after an Islamist militant group threatened to blow up a crucial railway bridge in north-western Bangladesh.
Zadid (new) al-Qaeda sent a letter to a senior railway official on Thursday threatening to blow up the country’s Hardinge Bridge linking the southwestern region with northern Bangladesh over the Padma river prompting an immediate security step up, the Amar Desh daily reported on Friday.
The outfit, earlier this month exploded bombs at the Bangladesh’s three railway stations, in which one person was injured, and left aluminium plates at the scenes with inscribes asking minority Kadiani Muslim sect to accept Muhammad (SM) as the last prophet and ordering all NGO activists to quit job by May 10.
Army-led joint forces mobilised extra personnel to guard the bridge and hunt suspected militants, who also in fresh letters recently ordered NGO officials and workers in northern Pabna leave job in next one month or face their wrath, the report said.
The threat came days after the newspapers reported that banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) remnants now regrouped with fellow militants of other extremist outfits to carry forward the self-assigned task of Islamic rule of their brand after six of their top leaders were executed.
The mass circulation “Prothom Alo” quoting intelligence officials earlier reported that JMB activists now planned to stage sabotages in small groups frequently changing their names while the “Daily Star” said the three extremist outfits were now operating under a single banner whose name changed too frequently to keep track of it.
Determined to make up for the loss of their spearheads, they launched a fresh recruitment drive stealthily, an intelligence official told the daily on condition of anonymity, while other reports said law enforcement agencies launched a special drive with a fresh list of 500 diehard militants, who are allegedly desperate to carry out subversive activities.
Meanwhile, the “New Age daily” today reported that the NGO Bureau cancelled the renewal of the five-year licence of the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a Kuwait-based non-governmental organisation banned by the United Nations for channelling funds to Islamist organisations and fuelling militancy at home and aboard.
NGO Bureau sources said that the office of the interim government’s chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed directed the bureau to take punitive action against it and the bureau cancelled the renewal of its licence in first week of the current month.
The RIHS was the seventh in the list of 27 Islamic charity organisations blacklisted by the US State Department on October 19, 2004.
The foreign officials of the organisation were kept under constant surveillance by intelligence agents after the countrywide bomb blasts on August 17, 2005 staged by JMB.