Bangladesh militant groups threaten bombings over leaders’ arrests

September 22nd, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 22 (IANS) Two outlawed militant outfits have joined hands and threatened a series of explosions in Bangladesh if the government failed to release activists of the Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), an international Islamist body banned in several countries, who were detained earlier this week.The Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) Sunday threatened to carry out bombings in the offices of law enforcement agencies if the arrested HuT leaders and activists were not released within 48 hours.

A deadline and a warning that the HuT issued to the government Friday ended Monday. A threat letter, signed by Obaidur Rahman Giasi, claiming to be the JMB’s military commander for the Chapainawabganj unit in Rajshahi in western Bangladesh, was faxed to the Metropolitan Police headquarters, official sources said.

The “ultimatum” faxed to the Rajshahi police headquarters demanded the release of 10 HuT leaders and activists arrested Thursday.

“We are absolutely ready and organised,” the letter said.

“Any excess by the government would push Bangladesh into anarchy. Nobody will be able to sleep and the country will be shaking at continuous bombing and grenade attacks. The country will become another Taliban Afghanistan,” the letter warned.

“We are desperate to materialise the last wishes of Bangla Bhai,” the JMB leader said in reference to its leader, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, who was hanged last year along with five others for murdering two judges.

HuT coordinator Syed Golam Mowla Hizb and his colleagues, mostly university teachers, were detained Thursday at Rajshahi on suspicion of promoting militancy in the name of establishing a ‘khilafat’, an Islamic state.

Police said the HuT men were distributing leaflets calling for establishing a self-styled khilafat rule by dethroning the present government in this holy month of Ramadan.

The government’s move was welcomed by media through several editorials over the weekend. The Daily Star newspaper said it was one thing to propagate one’s faith, but quite another to threaten to overthrow a government.

The threats by the two banned organisations come even as third one, the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (Huji), has said it would contest the forthcoming parliamentary polls under a different name.

According to media reports, while HuT is an international body banned in many countries, JMB and Huji have links with Islamist militant bodies in Pakistan and West Asia.

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