Bangladesh: Over 5,000 people arrested as PM vows to catch killers
June 12, Dhaka: More than 5,000 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in a nationwide crackdown following a spate of violent attacks as the country's prime minister vowed to catch "each and every killer". Among the arrested, 85 are suspected Islamist radicals, police said.
The move came after a Hindu monastery worker, an elderly Hindu priest, a Christian shopkeeper and the Muslim wife of a counterterrorism police officer have all been killed over the past 10 days.
Secular bloggers, gay rights activists and followers of minority religions have also been targeted recently, reports said.
Those arrested include 85 suspected "Islamist militants" and hundreds of potential criminals who previously had warrants out against them, as well as several hundred ordinary arrests, Bangladeshi police said on Saturday.
"We have arrested 3,155 people ... as part of the special drive over the last 24 hours," A.K.M Shahidur Rahman, deputy police inspector general, told the AFP news agency.
He added that the militants included 27 members of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh. He said one of the main domestic outlawed groups blamed partly for the attacks by the Bangladeshi government.
None of those arrested as part of the crackdown is believed to be "a high-level operator" who might have organised or ordered attacks, police told the Associated Press news agency. All the detainees are being held in jail.
The sweeping crackdown came as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed to hunt down the killers.
"Hundreds of opposition activists have been arrested in the police drive," Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), told AFP.
The Oslo Times International News Network