Wednesday, February 02, 2005

BANGLADESH FLASH: Five suspects detained in connection with deadly grenade attack

+ A police official said on condition of anonymity that five suspected had been detained, including two local leaders from Bangladesh's governing coalition led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. He did not elaborate. +

01/02/2005

Five suspects detained in connection with deadly grenade attack in Bangladesh

Bangladesh police detained five suspects, including two members of the ruling party, over a grenade attack that killed four opposition members and a former finance minister, police said Tuesday.

Former finance minister Shah Mohammad Kibria, his nephew and three other opposition members were killed in last Thursday's blast. Kibria, a 73-year-old diplomat-turned-lawmaker, had just completed a speech at a rally in Habiganj, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of the capital, Dhaka, when the attack took place.

The carnage triggered violent anti-government protests across the country.

A police official said on condition of anonymity that five suspected had been detained, including two local leaders from Bangladesh's governing coalition led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. He did not elaborate.

Two Interpol investigators arrived Monday to assist in the investigation, and Bangladesh has asked the United States for additional help, officials said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Awami League and its other political allies planned a national general strike on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to protest the killing.

The strike on Sunday will coincide with a regional summit of South Asian leaders in Dhaka, but the government is determined to push ahead with the meeting.

"The strikes will not affect the summit, and most of the delegates have already flown in to attend the meeting," Bangladesh's Foreign Minister M. Morshed Khan said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the grenade attack, but the opposition has blamed the government and has demanded that it resign and call elections.

The government has denied involvement and vowed to remain in power until its five-year term expires in 2006.