Dhaka: An anti-government protestor in Bangladesh was on Friday shot dead by security forces which warned of tougher actions to contain the renewed surge of political unrest that has claimed 25 lives so far.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said they initially arrested the protestor but his accomplices attacked the elite anti-crime unit of police, sparking a shootout in northwestern Chapai Nawabganj district.
The deceased was an arsonist who torched vehicles and threw crude bombs in the region to enforce the opposition BNP's nation-wide blockade, said a statement issued by RAB hours after the incident.
BNP's Chapai Nawabganj unit in a statement said the 35-year old protestor, Motiur Rahman, was an activist of their youth front.
The security forces' action came a day after paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief Major General Aziz Ahmed warned of using guns against arsonists to protect lives of people as well as members of law enforcement agencies.
"If someone is seen setting fire on a vehicle we will use ours guns as one casualty will save lives of five (several) others...And if they attack us with petrol bombs we will not chase them with batons, rather shoot them for self defence," Ahmed said in a press conference late yesterday.
Despite the warning, suspected opposition activists overnight set ablaze four trucks, injuring two drivers in northwestern Sirajganj and northeastern Feni.
In one of the incidents in northwestern Pabna, unidentified activists last night stopped a potato-laden truck on a highway and torched it using petrol bombs.
Activists have taken to the streets across the country for the last 11 days to try to enforce a transport blockade called by main opposition leader Khaleda Zia, demanding resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The opposition yesterday also called a 12-hour strike to protest an assassination attempt on one of Zia's longtime aides, Riaz Rahman, on Tuesday.
Rahman, a former junior minister for foreign affairs and adviser to Zia, survived after being shot four times in his car which was also set alight in an attack the opposition blamed on the government.
The violence has claimed 25 lives since Zia called indefinite transport blockade over the first anniversary of January 5 controversial polls which was boycotted by opposition parties.