Bangladesh arrests eight suspected militants

Police say militants arrested, including head of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, over killings of three atheist bloggers

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Police in Bangladesh arrested eight suspected militants on Tuesday in an ongoing crackdown following the hacking to death of three atheist bloggers earlier this year.

Police said that among those arrested was the head of the outlawed Jamaat-ul Mujahideen group, adding that explosives and other bomb-making materials were seized during raids in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.

Monirul Islam, the joint commissioner of the detective branch of Dhaka police, claimed the arrested suspects were "plotting to kill important personalities of the state and free their leaders from jail," according to Reuters.

In December, India said it had uncovered a plot against Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while Bangladesh announced that several politicians and academics - including the country’s home minister - had received death threats.

Bangladeshi police also detained 15 people this month on suspicion of trying to recruit for ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

Three atheist bloggers, including US-based blogger Avijit Roy, were hacked to death between February and now.

In addition to their critical views regarding Islam, they were also part of a movement calling for the prosecution and execution of the Jamaat-e-Islami party politicians accused of involvement in war crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

Bangladesh has banned a local group, the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT),  suspected of killing the three secular bloggers and making threats to writers last May.

TRTWorld and agencies