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Bangladesh arrests five suspected Islamist extremists

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrest suspected members of a banned Islamist extremist outfit in Chittagong on Dec 8. (AFP)

Bangladesh’s elite security force on Thursday arrested five suspected members of a banned Islamist extremist outfit who it said were planning to break their leaders out of jail. The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said the men were members of the banned Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJI), whose leader Mufti Abdul Hannan this week had his death sentence upheld by the country’s highest court.

The group is accused of orchestrating a series of deadly blasts targeting a Christian church, an Ahmadi Muslim mosque, and rallies of secular activists and communists.

“They (HuJI) remained inactive for a while and were trying to reorganise and plan attacks on law enforcers and prison vans to free their arrested leaders,” RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan told reporters in a press briefing.

Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of attacks on foreigners, rights activists and members of religious minorities. Many of those deadly attacks were claimed by the international terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government blames local militant groups, rejecting claims by the international groups. (AFP)

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