Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Bangladesh holds 4 suspects in bombing of shrine


Police yesterday said they have arrested four men in connection with the bombing of a Muslim shrine that killed three people and injured about 100, including the British ambassador to Bangladesh.

British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury suffered a leg injury in the blast during noon prayers Friday at Hazrat Shahjalal shrine in Sylhet.

The four suspects were detained late Friday, a police officer said on condition of anonymity. He did not elaborate.

Three of those detained are members of the student wing of the country's main opposition party, the Awami League, private TV station ATN Bangla reported.

Sylhet Mayor Badruddin Ahmed Kamran, an Awami League leader, denied the students were involved in the attack.

"The government is using the violence to crack down on the opposition," he said.

Choudhury was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Dhaka. Choudhury, 44, was visiting the shrine after assuming his post last week.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast in Sylhet, 190km northeast of Dhaka.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia expressed "deep shock" at the blast and conveyed "sympathy to the British envoy and other injured people," her office said.

The Awami League has accused police of security lapses and planned to hold protests in Sylhet yesterday.

In January, a bomb killed five worshippers at the shrine. Police had no suspects despite questioning more than 20 people detained after the blast.

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