DHAKA (Reuters) - A machete-wielding man on Tuesday injured a military policeman in an attack at an army check post in the Bangladesh capital, police said, the second law enforcement official to be targeted in a week.
Fears are growing that Bangladesh’s secular democracy is under attack following the killing of two foreigners and a spate of deadly attacks on bloggers and publishers prompted by articles critical of religious extremism.
At the time of Tuesday’s attack, the policeman was on duty at a check post at the entrance of the Dhaka Cantonment, police official Abdul Halim said.
He was taken to a military hospital for treatment, Halim added, and one man with a bloodstained machete was arrested over the attack. He did not elaborate.
Police in Dhaka had earlier detained 11 suspected members of a banned militant group with explosives and weapons, a police spokesman said.
“These attacks are pre-planned to create fear among law enforcers,” police commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia told reporters.
On Wednesday, two men on a motorcycle hacked to death a policeman at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Dhaka in an attack later claimed by Islamic State.
The government, however, rejected Islamic State’s claim and blamed the growing violence in Bangladesh on its domestic political opponents linked to Islamist parties.
“This is a conspiracy to destabilize the country and to foil the war crimes trials,” said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.
Tension has risen since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered Islamist leaders suspected of atrocities during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan to be put on trial for war crimes.
Hasina’s rivals accuse her of settling political scores by hunting down members of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally of the main opposition group headed by former prime minister Khaleda Zia. The government denies these assertions.
The security concerns will not disrupt Australia’s qualifying campaign for the soccer World Cup, however.
Plans for Australia to play a return qualifier in Bangladesh on November 17 will go ahead as scheduled, the president of the Bangladesh Football Federation, Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin, said.
Last month, Australia postponed a cricket tour of Bangladesh, saying they were advised not to go ahead with a two-test series that could expose their cricketers to potential militant attacks.
Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez