Wednesday, February 23, 2005

BLOGOSPHERE: FOSE roundup on Bangladesh 23FEB

Militants held in Bangladesh - According to Bangladesh's Daily Star (independent, English-language daily) and the Xinhua Internet News 12 suspected militants were arrested Tuesday in Bangladesh. Six were arrested with bomb-making formulas, masks, wigs and important documents belonging to an extremist organization from Dhamrai.

On Sunday, Bangladeshi police arrested 3 suspected members of the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh [Reawakened Muslim Masses] (JMJB), a group suspected of terrorizing populations in northern Bangladeshi areas such as Bogra with Taliban-like edicts and whose leader, Bangla Bhai, according to some foreign press has recently been raising funds for jihad. Local police apparently suspect one of them of being involved in the recent attack on the NGO known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). DakBangla has an interesting analysis on the reasons behind the attacks on BRAC and the Grameen Bank.

The New York Times highlighted Bangla Bhai in a 23 January analysis of Islamic terrorism in the country. I'm not as certain that the JMJB is that much of a problem in the context of international Sunni terrorism as a whole, but I am rather worried about Bangladesh . Recent attacks in Bangladesh include a 27 January attack on an Awami League (opposition party) rally that killed a former finance minister and a 14 February Valentine's Day attack at a university cultural event (the latter probably perpetrated by the Islami Chhatra Shabir, the militant student wing of the Jamiat-e-Islami.)

In other Bangladesh news, the death toll has reached 149 from a ferry accident in the Buriganga River.

Update: Seems as though Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League doesn't think much of Bangladeshi efforts to catch the JMJB