23 January 2016
Bangladeshi authorities have filed terrorism charges against 14 Bangladeshi construction workers deported from Singapore last week on suspicion of involvement with Islamic militant networks.
The authorities in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, however, also dismissed some elements of the Singaporean warning, saying there was no evidence that the workers had links to Al Qaeda or the Islamic State group or that they were planning an attack in Bangladesh.
Of the 27 workers deported by Singapore, 13 have been released and allowed to return to their families, because, though they subscribe to radical views, they had not violated any law, said Monirul Islam, the joint commissioner of the detective branch of the Dhaka metropolitan police.
“We will keep our watch on them,” he said. “They will be under our surveillance.”
Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the Bangladeshi government was wary that any indication that transnational jihadi groups were active in Bangladesh would discourage tourists and foreign investors.
“This fits with the government’s adamant stance that there is no I.S. connection in Bangladesh,” he said, referring to the Islamic State. “In the past, they always said attacks were not by Al Qaeda, and now they are saying the attacks were not by I.S.”
Mr. Gunaratna said that the Singaporean government was in a state of high alert after the discovery of the Bangladeshi group, and that he expected officials to continue investigations into the group’s activities in the coming months and years.
GPO / ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 25/01/2016