DHAKA: Bangladesh police have issued a security alert for all units following a tip-off about an impending terror attack by a militant group during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha festival, officials from the police headquarters told Arab News on Tuesday.
“Police have beefed up security measures considering all the security aspects of recent developments and members will remain on high alert during Eid Al-Adha and August,” Haider Ali Khan, additional deputy inspector general of intelligence and special affairs, told Arab News.
It follows police intelligence sources saying that Daesh had asked its followers to “operate globally ahead of Eid” while the police notice said that the “Neo JMB” may carry out the attack. The Neo JMB is a new branch of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a home-grown Islamist group militant outfit that has been outlawed in the country since 2005.
Bangladesh has been on high alert since 2016, when seven militants attacked a cafe in Dhaka killing 22 people.
The 12-hour siege of the Holey Artisan cafe saw eight people go on trial, while one man was acquitted.
Daesh claimed the attack, but Bangladeshi authorities rejected the claim and blamed the JMB instead.
“We have been able to control extremist groups in the country, but they are not completely uprooted,” Kamrul Ahasan, Additional Inspector General and Chief of Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) told Arab News. “So our dedicated units are kept on alert to prevent the subversive acts and, therefore, security has been increased.”
Mahmuda Afroz Lucky, additional divisional commissioner of the capital’s Mirpur Zone, said they had been directed to stay on “high alert” and gather information on any new tenants in the localities to identify the suspected militants before they organize themselves.
“We have installed security checkposts on the city streets, and police members are taking extra precautions during night patrol,” she added.
Experts said the additional precautionary measures were a step in the right direction.
“In recent years, it has been found that extremist groups become more active during a festival,” security analyst and retired major general Abdul Rashid told Arab News. “So to prevent the ‘lone wolf attack’ is a major concern for our law enforcement officers. I think this security alert is aimed to avoid that.”
He said that, due to strong surveillance measures, several extremist groups had lost the capacity to organize themselves and were now opting for “lone wolf methods.” He added that the recent geopolitical tensions between India and China had also created some ground for patronising extremist groups in the South Asia region.