Monday, October 18, 2004

Bangladesh: 8/21 - No 'foreign link in blast' - IGP


Shadudul Haque, the inspector general of police, has publicly contradicted the report of the judicial commission that investigated the grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, saying that recent bomb attacks in the country have had no international links. The IG did not mention grenade attacks that took place in the recent past in Sylhet and Dhaka. Besides, scores of grenades were retrieved, including one at Dhaka Central Jail on August 22. Shahudul only mentioned 'bomb blasts' and said most of the bombs used in the incidents were 'locally made'. The IG also claimed that Interpol, US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the British Scotland Yard are helping all investigations into bomb and grenade attacks since 1999, which have been left unresolved.
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IG says no foreign link to bomb blasts
Staff Correspondent


The inspector general (IG) of police recently said no international link has been found to the recent spate of bomb blasts, a claim that contradicts the government's one-member judicial commission, which hinted at the link of a 'foreign enemy' to the August 21 grenade attack.

"(A) Few bomb blast incidents occurred in the recent past, but most of them (bombs) are locally made. (The) Bangladesh Government promulgated special anti-terrorism law(s) such as Speedy Trial Tribunal Act to combat these (crime) trends. However, no international link has been found (to) these incidents," IG Shahudul Haque said at the 73rd Interpol General Assembly in Mexico on October 7.

The Police Headquarters made available copies of his speech to the press yesterday.

He, however, admitted in the speech that none of the dozen incidents of bomb blasts and grenade attacks that have taken place since 1999 could be unearthed.

Only four days before Shahudul's disclosure, Justice Joynul Abedin, the government-appointed head of the one-member judicial commission on the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally hinted to the media at the link of a foreign enemy alongside local ones.

Apart from the bomb blasts, the IG also said Bangladesh's geographical vulnerability, as it is in the middle of world's largest narcotics-growing belt, has meant that its land, sea and air facilities are being used to traffic drugs to South America and Europe.

BOMB BLASTS, GRENADE ATTACKS

The IG did not mention grenade attacks that took place in the recent past in Sylhet and Dhaka. Besides, scores of grenades were retrieved, including one at Dhaka Central Jail on August 22.

Shahudul only mentioned 'bomb blasts' and said most of the bombs used in the incidents were 'locally made'.

The IG also claimed that Interpol, US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the British Scotland Yard are helping all investigations into bomb and grenade attacks since 1999, which have been left unresolved.

The fact, however, remains that the government announced that Interpol and the FBI would assist the local intelligence agencies in their probe into the August 21 grenade attack. It also said the Scotland Yard would help probe the grenade attack on British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury on May 21 in Sylhet.

"...Since 1999 more than a dozen bombing and grenade attacks have taken place resulting in loss of life and injuries to more than 500 people, but unfortunately none of these cases could yet be detected (solved)," Shahudul said in his address.

"The government of Bangladesh, with the help of Interpol, FBI and Scotland Yard, are investigating these incidents," he added.

TERRORISM

The IG sought international efforts to combat organised crime that renders international boundaries ineffective.

"The geographical boundary of a country is going to be ineffective (due to) some organised crime and an international effort is now required to fight this crime," he said.

Shahudul also said: "There are (a) few terrorist groups operating in Bangladesh under the (shelter) of so-called political parties."

He added that the government has taken necessary actions against "illegal and unauthorised organisations," that have been "creating disturbances" in some eastern and southwestern districts.

The IG, however, claimed that currently there is no armed conflict in Bangladesh and that people and mass media view certain criminal acts, such as gruesome murder, armed clash, extortion at gunpoint, vandalism, acid throwing and armed robbery as "acts of terrorism".

DRUGS

The IG told the Interpol general assembly that to transport illicit drugs in and out of the country to different points of South America and Europe, traffickers are using land, sea and air facilities of Bangladesh.

"It is reasonably suspected that Bangladesh is well positioned on the transit route of drug."

"Bangladesh is geographically located in the middle of the world's largest narcotics growing belt, The Golden Triangle, The Golden Crescent and the Golden Wedge. So, the position of Bangladesh is very vulnerable in respect of drug trafficking," the IG added.

Daily Star 18/10/2004


2. IGP at odds with judicial body's blast findings


Shadudul Haque, the inspector general of police, has publicly contradicted the report of the judicial commission that investigated the grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, saying that recent bomb attacks in the country have had no international links.

'No international link has been found in these [recent] incidents,' the IGP said in his keynote speech delivered at the general assembly of the Interpol held at Cancun, Mexico on October 7.

Justice Joynul Abedin's judicial commission, that submitted its report to the home ministry on October 2, found that a foreign intelligence agency, in association with a local quarter, masterminded the August 21 grenade attack on the Awami League rally.

'Few bomb blasts have occurred in the recent past and most of the bombs were locally made,' Shahudul told he assembly adding, 'Unfortunately, none of these cases have yet been detected.'

Regarding the August 21 grenade attack, Shahudul said a rally being addressed by the leader of the opposition in parliament was attacked by a series of grenades resulting in the instant death of 18 people, including men, women and children, and injuries to over 300.

He thanked Interpol for offering assistance to Bangladesh and sending two teams to help investigate the incident.

'It is to be mentioned that since 1999 more than a dozen bombings and grenade attacks have taken place resulting in loss of life and injuries to more than 500 people but unfortunately none of these cases could yet be detected,' he said.

The IGP said the government with the help of the Interpol, the US Federal Investigation Bureau and the UK's Scotland Yard are investigating these incidents.

He said there was no armed conflict in Bangladesh but the people and mass media view certain criminal acts, including armed clashes, extortion at gun point, armed robbery, acid throwing, gruesome murder, and vandalism, as acts of terrorism.

Shahudul said the government had promulgated special anti-terrorism laws to combat these criminal trends.

The keynote address, one of the three read in the assembly, highlighted the global crime scenario, the human trafficking situation, drug abuse and smuggling and money laundering and its effects on the individual country and its citizens.

'With the development of science and technology, the world is getting smaller. The geographical boundary of a country is going to be ineffective in containing some organised crime,' the IGP said, emphasising on more international efforts to fight crime.

The government is committed to cooperate regionally and internationally to control the spread of the drug menace, Shahudul said. 'More coordinated law enforcement action through Interpol and the United Nations is required to control the production and trafficking of drugs.'

He said there are a few terrorist groups operating in the country under the garb of so-called political parties. He claimed the government has taken necessary action against them and most of them have surrendered.

The Chinese vice-prime minister of public security and the Porto Rican minister of public security read the other two keynote papers at the assembly.

New Age 18/10/2004