DHAKA: Bangladesh police have arrested seven suspected militants including four Pakistani nationals, they said on Saturday, accusing them of planning to commit acts of violence in the country.
The seven, who were arrested on Friday and later taken to court for interrogation, are suspected of belonging to the banned Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), according to police.
“In preliminary interrogation, they’ve admitted that they’re activating the operation of the banned JMB. They gathered to commit acts of violence,” a police statement said, adding the authorities believed the group was conspiring against the government.
The arrests come as tensions run high in Bangladesh following a spate of targeted killings and fears of mounting Islamist violence in the conservative country of 160 million.
Dhaka police spokesman Muntashirul Islam said those arrested included four Pakistani nationals, the first time police have claimed Pakistanis are active in the banned group.
Police said they had seized Pakistani currency and religious books from those arrested.
JMB militants have been blamed for attacks in recent weeks including slashing the throat of a Christian pastor and a series of murders of Sufi Muslims, who the militants consider as heretics.
Bangladesh is also grappling with a series of murders claimed by the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group in recent weeks, including the fatal stabbing of a policeman on Wednesday.
Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2015