Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Update on Shaikh Abdur Rahman's arrest in India - BBC and Reuters

  • India holds Bangladesh 'suspect: Bangladeshi security officials inspect the site of an attack in Gazipur. Police in India have arrested a man in connection with a series of bomb blasts in Bangladesh last August. Obaidur Rahman, described by police as an Islamic militant, was held in the state of West Bengal.
But the state police say reports that they arrested a leader of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) group, Sheikh Abdur Rahman, are not true.
Last August, nearly 400 bombs went off across Bangladesh, in a wave of violence blamed on the JMB.Nearly 30 people have died in Bangladesh in bomb blasts in recent months.
  • Border alert:Two other suspects were also arrested with Obaidur Rahman in the police raid in Murshidabad district. Police in border districts say they have been alerted to watch out for Islamic militants who may cross into the state to evade capture in Bangladesh. A number of bombings in Bangladesh since August have targeted judges, lawyers, police and journalists. Police there have arrested almost 800 suspects, many of them members of the JMB which wants hardline Islamic law in the country.
  • EU offers to help Bangladesh combat terrorism: The European Union on Tuesday offered to help Bangladesh in its fight against terrorism, saying it was part of an international problem. Bangladesh has suffered a wave of bomb blasts, including suicide bombings, which the government blamed on Islamist militants fighting for introduction of sharia law in the mainly Muslim democracy.
    "Terrorists are receiving funding from abroad. Fight against terrorism is an international effort and we will work together with Bangladesh to address the issue seriously,"
    Nikolaus Scherk, leader of a EU delegation, said after talks with government leaders.
"Terrorism is a global problem and is to be addressed globally," he said.

Scherk, who is Director for Asia Pacific at the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs representing the EU Presidency, said that the continuing confrontation between the government and opposition parties was damaging to Bangladesh.
"We urged the political players here to cooperate for the good this country, for its economy, for its image in the world."
he told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister M. Morshed Khan.
The main opposition Awami League party, which wants the government to resign for failing to tackle the Islamist militancy, has threatened to boycott and resist parliamentary elections due in January 2007. The government led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia has vowed to stay on in power until its term ended. The EU is a major trading partner of Bangladesh, buying nearly half of its garments and shrimps and EU countries also provide concessional loans. During its three-day trip that began on Monday, the EU team is expected to discuss the state of governance, corruption and human rights with representatives of government, political parties, civil society and the diplomatic community in Bangladesh.


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