Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bombs Rocked Three Rail Stations

Police inspect an area hit by a bomb at Dhaka's Kamalapur rail station
Police inspect an area hit by a bomb at Kamlapur rail Station

Small explosions hit three train stations across Bangladesh


The Associated Press
Published: May 1, 2007

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Three small explosions Tuesday at separate train stations across Bangladesh left one person injured in an attack claimed by a group opposed to non-government development agencies, a railway spokesman said.

The explosive devices were hidden in small bags at train stations in the capital, Dhaka, and the cities of Sylhet and Chittagong, railway spokesman Shafiqul Alam Khan said. A rickshaw puller was slightly injured in Chittagong.

Security was stepped up at rail stations across the country after the blasts, with guards checking passengers and their luggage.

Metal plates found near the bomb sites were etched with messages from a shadowy group warning people working for non-governmental development agencies in Bangladesh they would be killed unless they quit their jobs by May 10, Khan said.

Many Islamic groups in Muslim-majority Bangladesh oppose the activities of such agencies, which are often funded by Western donors and employ women.

"Stop associating with nonbelievers. Stop working for NGOs by May 10. Or prepare for death," said the etched messages signed by Jadid al Qaeda Bangladesh, a hitherto unknown group.

The messages also warned people in Bangladesh against associating with Kadianis, a minority Islamic sect whose members are deemed nonbelievers by many mainstream Muslim groups.

The explosions took place early Tuesday near a ticket counter in Dhaka, under a seat at a waiting lounge in the northwestern city of Sylhet, and on a sidewalk outside the station in southeastern Chittagong.

"Bomb experts are investigating the type of explosives," said Khan, who was at Dhaka's Kamalapur station during the blast there.

A security official speaking on condition of customary anonymity said the homemade devices were likely meant to publicize the new group and its demands, rather than cause damage.

Tuesday was May Day, a public holiday in Bangladesh.

Television footage from the Dhaka blast showed charred bits of a package wrapped in black tape, with a pencil battery and a small clock attached.

The private CBS news network quoted the Chittagong victim as telling police he was injured when a small packet wrapped in tape exploded as he tried to open it.

In recent years, Bangladesh has been wracked by a violent campaign by militants wanting to establish strict Islamic rule in the country, now governed by secular laws.

In 2005, a series of deadly bombings blamed on the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh group killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens more across the nation.

The banned group's top operatives were convicted and recently hanged.


Bombs explode at Bangladesh railway stations

Several small bombs exploded at three railway stations in emergency-ruled Bangladesh on Tuesday with evidence pointing to Islamic extremists blamed for persecuting a Muslim sect, officials said.

The bombs went off at stations in the capital, Dhaka, the northern city of Sylhet and southeastern port of Chittagong, causing panic but leaving just one person with minor injuries, police said.

Railway officials said leaflets and an inscribed metal plate, likely to be linked to the bombings, were found at two of the stations.

The metal plate, signed by "Zadid (new) Al-Qaeda," featured an attack on the minority Ahmadiyas -- an Islamic offshoot sect frequently targeted by extremists from the majority Sunni Muslim community.

It declared contact with the Ahmadiyas and workers of non-governmental organisations was "prohibited," adding that "Ahmadiyas should accept Mohammad as the last and the greatest prophet."

Ahmadiyas break sharply with mainstream Islam by not believing that Mohammad was the last prophet. Extremists in Bangladesh have previously called on the government to pass a law declaring them "non-Muslim."

Another leaflet found said "We are ready to die" and called for ties to be cut with the Ahmadiyas, who number about 100,000 in Bangladesh.

National police chief Nur Mohammad said all the blast sites had been cordoned off and intelligence officers had begun an investigation.

"We are investigating whether it is a new group," he said.

Officers would also examine if an existing group had adopted new tactics, he added.

In August 2005, more than 400 explosive devices were detonated almost simultaneously in towns and cities across Bangladesh, marking the start of a nationwide bombing campaign by a group calling for the imposition of strict Islamic law.

Six people blamed for masterminding the campaign were hanged in March after being convicted of the the murder of two judges.

They included the leader of the group, Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his deputy, Siddiqul Islam.

The bombing campaign rocked moderate Bangladesh and forced the then government to admit it had underestimated the threat from Islamic extremists.

In June 2005, the New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised the country's former coalition government, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), for complicity in persecution of the Ahmadiyas.

It accused two of the government's coalition partners -- Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote -- of inciting violence against the minority.

A report by the organisation documented a "campaign of violence, harassment and intimidation" by the Khatme Nabuwat (KN) -- an umbrella group of Sunni Muslim extremists.
-- published in The Raw Story

Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals
May 1, 2007

Three simultaneous bomb blasts rocked separate railway terminals in Bangladesh, with militant slogans claiming to be from al Qaeda found at two of the sites.

One man was hurt in the blasts, which triggered panic among commuters who evacuated railway terminals.

Thin metal sheets scribbled with slogans were found at the bomb sites in Dhaka's Kamalapur and Sylhet terminals. The third blast was in the railway terminal of the south-eastern city of Chittagong.

"... If Hazrat (Prophet) Mohammad is not declared the superman of the world by May 10, all non-governmental organisations will be blown up," the slogans on the metal sheets read in the Bengali language. They were signed "the al Qaeda network" in English.

"The bombs were kept in cotton sacks, along with the metal sheets. They exploded before anyone detected them," said police Inspector Abu Zafar Alam at Kamalapur, Bangladesh's biggest railway terminal.

"We are puzzled over the motives (of those who planted the bombs). But they dared to take the risk," said another police officer.

No one has been arrested, nor could police immediately confirm any al Qaeda link to the blasts.

Police said Munir Hossain, a rickshaw-puller, was injured at the Chittagong terminal when he tried to open one of the sacks before it exploded.

Outlawed islamist groups

The outlawed Islamist group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, carried out a series of bomb blasts across Bangladesh on August 17, 2005, killing three people and injuring more than 100.

In more attacks through the rest of 2005, the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and another outlawed group, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, killed nearly 30 more people and wounded 150, including judges, lawyers, police and officials.

Six leaders from the two groups were executed on March 30 for their role in the blasts.

Many commuters fled the terminals, too scared to board trains.

"I am afraid to take on the journey. There may be more bombs around," said Didarul Alam, a bank official waiting to board a train to Chittagong. "They have spoiled my holiday.

Many Bangladeshis were travelling out of Dhaka taking advantage of a two-day public holiday for May Day and a Buddhist religious festival on Wednesday.

Security has been tightened across the country, police said.

Intelligence groups last month alerted the government that Islamist militants were regrouping after the execution of the militant leaders.

"This (Tuesday's blasts) proved they are still active and dared to show their teeth," said one security official who asked not to be named.

The army-backed interim government has imposed a state of emergency in January following deadly political violence that forced the authorities to suspend a scheduled national election.

Tuesday's blasts occurred almost simultaneously around 7:30am (1:30pm NZT), police said.

Source: Reuters


  1. Hi Himu, check out my blog for how the news broke and for other links to what other bloggers are saying about this. http://dhakashohor.blogspot.com/2007/05/breaking-news-bomb-blasts-in-dhaka.html

  2. Also I saw your other blogs on your profile. Any news about this potentially new organization? Do keep us updated on your blog or through comments on mine. Thanks.

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