Bangladeshi commandos ‘killed hostage by mistake’

TOUGH TIMES: People stand in the rain and pay their respects to victims of the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 05 July 2016
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Bangladeshi commandos ‘killed hostage by mistake’

DHAKA: Bangladeshi security forces may have accidentally shot dead an innocent kitchen worker when they stormed a Dhaka cafe where gunmen were holding people hostage, police have said.

Saiful Islam Chowkidar, a pizza maker at the Holey Artisan restaurant, was among six men who were killed by the security forces on Saturday when commandos stormed the eatery to end a 12-hour siege, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
“We killed six people in the restaurant. A case has been registered against five. The sixth man was a restaurant employee,” Saiful Islam, a top police official investigating the attack, told Reuters news agency.
Separately, a Bangladeshi politician spoke Tuesday of his horror to learn his son was among the suspects, and said many young men from wealthy, educated families were going missing.
Imtiaz Khan Babul said his 22-year-old son Rohan Imtiaz, who was killed by commandos, had been a top-scoring student whose behavior gave no hint he was radicalized before he disappeared last December.
“I was stunned and speechless to learn that my son had done such a heinous thing,” a tearful Babul told AFP.
“I don’t know what changed him. There was nothing that would suggest that he was getting radicalized.”
Babul, an official with the ruling Awami League party, said he believed his son may have been “brainwashed” online.
He had not seen Rohan since traveling to India in December with his maths teacher wife, leaving their three children in Dhaka.
In the months following Rohan’s disappearance, Babul lobbied senior party officials to help find his only son and even scoured the city’s morgues. As he searched, he met other families who had suffered the same fate.
“I met so many parents whose boys had gone missing,” he said. “Even yesterday, one of them was saying that I was lucky that I got the body of my boy. Some of them are not so lucky.”
Security forces shot dead six men when they stormed the cafe, bringing the all-night siege to an end, while one suspected attacker was taken alive and is being questioned.
Witnesses say the perpetrators of the attack, claimed by the Daesh terror group, spared the lives of Muslims. The 20 people killed included nine Italians, seven Japanese, a US citizen and a 19-year-old Indian student.
On Tuesday the bodies of the Japanese victims arrived on a government plane in Tokyo. All had worked with the government-run Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Bangladesh.
Authorities said an aircraft carrying the bodies of the nine Italian victims had flown out of Dhaka early Tuesday.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister met diplomats Tuesday following the attack, the worst by far targeting the international community in Dhaka.
Hundreds of foreign firms operate out of Bangladesh and its clothes manufacturing industry is the lifeblood of the economy, accounting for more than 80 percent of exports.
“We’ve raised our worries during the meeting. We discussed how to deal with the situation and ensure security for the diplomatic community and the foreign community here,” one foreign diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The government says homegrown extremists are responsible for the deaths of some 80 secular activists, foreigners and religious minorities murdered over the last three years.
It has repeatedly denied international terrorist networks have a presence in the country, even though Daesh and a South Asian branch of Al-Qaeda have claimed a number of attacks.
Bangladesh’s home minister has said the men behind Friday’s attack at an upmarket cafe were highly educated and from wealthy families.
Among them was Meer Saameh Mubasheer, an 18-year-old student at an elite school whose father told AFP he was “a victim of his simplicity.”
“He couldn’t keep his attention on one thing for too long. But he was always into religious study,” said Meer Hayet Kabir.
“He was slow in his mental growth and didn’t have many friends.”


Sri Lanka victims: Citizens of at least 12 countries killed

A Sri Lankan couple, whose family member was killed in a yesterday blast, leaves from a mortuary after identifying the body, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP)
Updated 16 min 49 sec ago
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Sri Lanka victims: Citizens of at least 12 countries killed

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: At least 290 people were killed in a series of nine bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Sri Lankan authorities say at least 30 foreigners died in the attacks. A look at some of the countries whose citizens were among the victims:
SRI LANKA: The vast majority of the victims were believed to be Sri Lankan citizens, many of them members of the island nation’s Christian minority. Names of many victims and other details on their lives were slow to trickle in and difficult to report, in part because Sri Lankan authorities blocked most social media after the blasts.
But among them was Dileep Roshan, 37, a carpenter who left behind a wife and daughter, his family told The Associated Press.
“His wife and daughter won’t be able to do much now because he is gone,” his older brother, Sanjeevani Roshan, said. “The real question is what will happen to their future.”
UK: Sri Lanka’s top diplomat in Britain says authorities know of eight British nationals killed in the bombings.
Among them were lawyer Anita Nicholson, son Alex Nicholson and daughter Annabel Nicholson, her husband, Ben Nicholson, confirmed in a statement. Nicholson said the family was on holiday, sitting at the table of the restaurant of the Shangri-la Hotel when they were killed. He said: “The holiday we had just enjoyed was a testament to Anita’s enjoyment of travel and providing a rich and colorful life for our family, and especially our children.”
INDIA: Indian officials say eight Indians died in the attacks.
DENMARK: The Bestseller clothing chain confirmed Danish media reports that three of the children of its owner, business tycoon Anders Holch Povlsen, were killed in the attacks. However, spokesman Jesper Stubkier gave no details in an emailed response to a query on the matter and said the company had no further comment.
SPAIN: Spain’s foreign ministry says a Spanish man and woman were killed but didn’t provide further details. The mayor of Pontecesures in northwest Spain, Juan Manuel Vidal, tells Radio Galega he knew the local pair and says they were in their 30s, according to a report by Spanish private news agency Europa Press.
AUSTRALIA: Australia’s prime minister says a mother and daughter from that country were killed. Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria were attending a church service in Negombo when they died.
CHINA: Chinese state media say two of the country’s citizens died in the blasts.
UNITED STATES: The State Department says at least four Americans were killed and several others seriously injured. It gave no details about the victims’ identities.
Fifth-grader Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, spending a year in Sri Lanka on leave from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., was among those killed, the school said in an email to parents, according to the Washington Post . The email said: “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year.”
Dieter Kowalski, who lived in Denver and worked for international education company Pearson, died in the blasts shortly after he arrived at his hotel for a business trip, the company and his family told AP . A Friday Facebook post reads “And the fun begins. Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!“
SWITZERLAND: The foreign ministry says two Swiss nationals, one of whom also had the citizenship of another country it didn’t name, died in the attacks. It said a third member of the family, who had two non-Swiss citizenships, also was killed. It didn’t identify the victims.
OTHERS: The Netherlands, Japan and Portugal have also confirmed their nationals were among the dead.