Bangladesh special forces arrest four suspected militants in south

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 13, 2015 11:29 AM

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh special forces arrested four suspected Islamist militants in the southern port city of Chittagong on Monday and seized a stash of small arms believed to be destined for a nearby training camp, a senior commander said.

Lieutenant Colonel Miftah Uddin, head of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in the Chittagong region, said his forces raided a hotel following a tip-off and arrested militant leader Mohammed Mojaher.

Three of his accomplices were detained separately in the city, and Mojaher confessed to supplying weapons to a militant training camp in Banshkhali, a remote, hilly area in the Chittagong region, Miftah said.

"Now all of them will be interrogated," he told Reuters.

In February, special forces raided a Banshkhali training camp operated by an Islamist militant network believed to be planning attacks across the country.

Sources in the RAB said they believed the camps were run by an armed wing of the student front for Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamist party which opposes the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina opened an inquiry in 2010 into crimes committed during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, since when several Jamaat leaders have been sentenced to death by two war crimes tribunals.

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The party says the tribunals are politically motivated, and denies accusations that its leaders committed murder, rape and torture during a conflict in which about 3 million people were killed.

Islamist opposition leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was hanged at the weekend for war crimes, prompting an angry reaction from his supporters who called for a protest strike on Monday.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir and Nazimuddin Shaymol in Chittagong; Editing by Mike Collett-White)