09/30/2022, 15.25
BANGLADESH
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Terrorist alert in Dhaka ahead of Hindu Durga Puja celebrations

by Sumon Corraya

Dozens of young Islamist militants in different parts of the country have left their homes in recent weeks. Police fear a large-scale attack is being prepared. Security measures have been boosted around places of worship.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladeshi authorities are increasingly concerned about a possible terrorist attack after reports by the security services indicate that many young Islamist militants have left their homes.

As a result, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Mohammad Shafiqul Islam put his forces on maximum alert boosting security around Hindu places of worship on the even of Durga Puja celebrations, which began today until 5 October.

About 50 young Islamist militants in different parts of the country have reportedly left home or done “hijrat”, an Arabic word derived from “hijr”, to depart, used by radical Islamist groups and charged with great religious significance.

Six years ago, something similar occurred ahead of the horrific attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery, in Gulshan, which left 29 people dead.

“We all have to work hard during the puja so that no untoward incident can take place,” said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Mohammed Shafiqul Islam.

“Police will ensure tight security measures and remain vigilant” for possible attacks, he added, noting that the annual event will be celebrated at 233 different sites in the capital.

In special places of worship, police will provide additional security with CCTV cameras, archways, and extra police deployments.

Bangladeshi law enforcement have focused on “hijrat” since last month when seven college students from Comilla went missing.

Families told police that the young people had not taken any clothes with them, nor cash or mobile phones. Before leaving, they said they were going to a training centre.

Eventually, the authorities realised scores of other young people aged 17 to 25 had done the same.

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