"Black Friday" massacre tears at fabric of Bangladesh's garment sector

Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:00pm EDT
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* Attack on Dhaka restaurant killed 18 foreigners

* Garment industry alarmed at growing threat from radicalisation

* Foreign companies have suspended travel to Bangladesh

* Government pledges more protection for business travellers

* Myanmar, Ethiopia, seen as long-term challengers for orders

By Zeba Siddiqui, Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir

DHAKA, July 20 (Reuters) - Emdadul Islam's three-decade career in Bangladesh's garment trade has seen the industry hit by riots, labour unrest, power shortages and safety scandals, but he had never lost faith in its ability to weather the latest crisis and continue to grow.

Now, after a group of radicalised young Bangladeshis killed about 20 people, including 18 foreigners, in an attack on an upscale Dhaka restaurant claimed by Islamic State, he fears for the future of the $28 billion sector.

"I thought it impossible for this to happen in Bangladesh," said Islam, a director of Babylon Group, which makes garments for the likes of H&M and Tesco. "It was just a nightmare. This is not Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or something."   Continued...