Bangla coup attempt: 5 members of Islamist outfit arrested

Bangla coup attempt: 5 members of Islamist outfit arrested

Bangladesh's elite counter-terrorist force has arrested five members of the banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir in connection with a botched coup attempt by some serving and retired army officers.

This Inter-Service Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) Bangladesh handout photo shows Major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Huq, said to be the mastermind of a coup to oust Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government. Maj Ziaul Huq was involved with banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir, the army said at a press briefing on January 19, 2012. The Bangladesh army said sday that it had foiled a plot by more than a dozen

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested five members of Hizb ut-Tahrir from the city yesterday, a day after the army said it had foiled a coup allegedly plotted by Maj Syed Mohammad Ziaul Huq, said to have links with the banned Islamist outfit.

A RAB detective was injured during the arrests, quoted Maj Ahsan of RAB–1 as saying. The army had said the conspiracy was unearthed last month and two retired officers - Lt Col Ehsan Yousuf and Major Zakir - had been arrested while Major Huq, a co-planner was absconding.

In a related development, police in Patuakhali yesterday raided the house of Huq. Sadar Police Station officer-in-charge Monirul Islam said Maj Huq could not be found there. "Only the mother-in-law of Maj Huq was there. She told us Huq's wife was in Dhaka," he said.

The Army on Thursday said Maj Huq's links with Hizb ut-Tahrir are proved. The army spokesman had said Maj Huq was an effort to implement his anti-state conspiracies sent e-mails to different serving officers to execute his operation plans on January 9 and 10.

Bangladesh has a long history of coups and counter coups. The country was under direct or pseudo military rules for over a decade, since August 15, 1975, when the country's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most of his family members.

The present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which came to power in early 2009, has faced repeated threats from hardline groups.