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Economist critical of Bangladesh’s anti-militancy efforts

  • Published at 03:03 pm April 3rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 03:06 pm April 3rd, 2017
Economist critical of Bangladesh’s anti-militancy efforts
The Economist has been critical of Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism campaign in its recent issue, highlighting on the length of the Sylhet raid, the government denial of Islamic State presence, and its conciliation of radical religious groups. The magazine however praised Sheikh Hasina government's crackdown on militancy and the way Bangladesh persuaded its citizens to report suspected militants to the security forces. However, the report, dated March 30, claimed that extremist fringes were thriving on Hasina's “decision to suppress mainstream opposition groups.” The article on the London-based weekly's website noted with dismay that it took security forces four days to neutralise four jihadists holed up in a Sylhet hideout. However, the report wrongly claimed that one of the four militants had blown himself up near the site during the raid, killing seven people and injuring at least 50. Bangladeshi security forces initially described the blast as a suicide attack. However, counter-terrorism unit chief Monirul Islam later said that one of the militants from Moulvibazar’s Borohat was behind the bombing that day. The IS, which has so far claimed credit for 28 attacks in Bangladesh since 2015, reportedly said it was responsible for the March 25 explosions. Bangladesh has been adamantly denying the role of IS in recent attacks and blaming them on home-grown militants – New JMB. Army para-commandos led the operation at the multi-story Sylhet apartment building. They successfully took the building's 78 residents to safety before killing the militants. The Economist also noted that the current situation in Bangladesh is a security concern for its largest neighbour, India. Recently, Indian Border Security Force informed Assam police that 3,459 militants had entered the country from Bangladesh over the last three years. Hasina's government, The Economist felt, had some success in destroying hideouts inside its border that were being used by militants active in neighbouring Indian states. The article said that Bangladesh's anti-militancy drive and its conciliation of radical Islamist groups like Chittagong-based Hefazat-e Islam were at odds with each other. The Economist article was titled Bangladesh’s counter terrorism campaign has a long way to go.