Bangladesh detains 5 Army officers, sacks several others

Five Army officers have been detained and several others sacked in Bangladesh for their suspected link to the last month`s bomb attack on Prime Minister`s nephew.

Dhaka: Five Army officers have been detained and several others sacked in Bangladesh for their suspected link to the last month`s bomb attack on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s nephew and Awami League lawmaker Fazle Nur Taposh, officials said on Tuesday.
An official confirmed the dismissal or forced retirement of "some Army officers recently" while the Daily Star newspaper quoting unidentified intelligence sources said the detained five junior officers named six of their former superiors as masterminds behind the attack on Taposh.

The report said one of the six officers, Lt Colonel Saiful Islam Joarder, was on the run as he was believed to have provided funds for the attack on Taposh, also a key lawyer in the final appeal hearing of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman`s murder trial at the apex Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

The Star report named the six officers who ranked between Brigadier and Major while several local newspapers yesterday carried reports of the alleged links of several Army officers in attack on Taposh, who narrowly escaped the hit which injured 15 others.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hasina at a late yesterday cabinet meeting directed the home ministry to launch a comprehensive investigation into the alleged link of some "dismissed" Army officers with the bomb attack on Taposh, an official at the Prime Minister`s office said.

The official said Hasina feared that the country might witness a sabotage to frustrate the trial of Bangabandhu murder convicts as the final appeal hearing was nearing completion. The High Court has earlier confirmed death sentence of 12 ex-Army officers, six of whom are in jail while others are on the run abroad.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun reconfirmed the Premier`s direction telling a newspaper last night that the allegations against the Army officers would be thoroughly investigated and "if their involvement with the incident is found, stern action would be taken".

"The matter is under investigation... whoever is found involved in the attack on Taposh must get punishment," Khatun told reporters.

She also said there had been allegations against military officers for their role in political killings since the August 15, 1975 assassination of Bangabandhu, also father of the incumbent premier, but "they would not dare to do it again once the Bangabandhu murder trial is completed and the perpetrators get punished".

The Star report said the five detained Army officers were hauled up for questioning five days ago and they were still being quizzed.

The mass circulation Samakal newspaper named Brig Gen HRM Rokonuddin as a suspect but in a protest carried by it today he denied his "slightest involvement" in the attack, saying he "strongly condemn such anti-social and anti-state activity".

Bureau Report