Bangladesh coup plot: Five Islamists arrested

Last Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 23:14

Bangladesh`s elite anti-terror force
has arrested five members of the banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir in connection with a failed coup attempt.
One security personnel was injured during the arrests
yesterday.

Bangladesh Army on Thursday said it has foiled a plot to
topple the government and have arrested two former officers
besides launching a manhunt for a fugitive in-service Major
while some 16 others are being kept under strict vigil.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today accused
opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of having involvement
in the failed coup plot.

Speaking at a party meeting, she said the abortive coup
had a visible link with BNP chief and her arch-rival Khaleda
Zia`s earlier comments pledging to out the government by 2012.
"There will be no more usurping power in Bangladesh by
taking shortcuts," she said.

No comments from BNP was immediately available on
Hasina`s remark but a senior party leader and former law
minister Moudud Ahmed rejected the allegation saying BNP never
wanted to go to power through undemocratic means.
"Awami League government`s failure and their extreme bad
governance might have prompted the abortive coup," he said.

Meanwhile, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said that
detail coup plan was unfolding gradually and suspects were
likely to be tried in court marshal under Army Act.

"According to the Army Act, serving military personnel
should be tried in court marshal for this type of crimes and
the same law suggests that even the retired military people
and civilians can also be tried under the Army Act for
seducing such conspiracy, if they (civilians) are not tried
for sedition under the civil Penal Court," Ahmed said.

Brigadier-General Mohammad Masud Razzak had told a
crowded press conference at Dhaka Cantonment on Thursday that
14 to 16 officers were under vigil as investigations were
underway on the their suspected involvement while the detained
two former officers "bluntly admitted their role in the plot".

He said they all were officers of "middle level" and the
arrested officers are Lt Col Ehsan Yousuf and Major Zakir.

An army spokesman had said Maj Haque sent e-mails to
different serving officers to execute coup operation on
January 9 and 10.

Bangladesh has a long history of coups and counter coups.
The country was under direct or pseudo military rules for over
a decade, since August 15, 1975, when the country`s founding
leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most
of his family members.

The present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina, which came to power in early 2009, has faced repeated
threats from hardline groups.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 23:11

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