Bangladesh bans multiple motorcycle passengers after deadly attacks
June 07 2016 12:34 AM


Bangladesh’s home minister yesterday announced a ban on motorcyclists carrying more than one passenger in an attempt to curb increasing numbers of deadly attacks by Islamic militants.
The move comes one day after three attackers on a motorcycle stabbed and shot dead the wife of a senior anti-terror police officer as she walked her young son to a school bus stop.
Police said they have detained four people over Sunday’s attack in the southern city of Chittagong, the latest in a wave of killings.
“They will be questioned over the murder,” Chittagong police chief Iqbal Bahar said, adding that officers have also seized the motorbike thought used by the three attackers.
The victim, Mahmuda Begum, 35, was the wife of decorated officer Babul Akter who in recent months led operations in Chittagong against top members of banned militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the government would ban multiple motorcycle passengers, a common sight on the impoverished nation’s traffic-clogged streets.
Police say militants often use motorbikes to carry out attacks.
“We will not allow three people to ride together and we will impose it by all means,” Khan told reporters.
Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of murders of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities that have left more than 40 people dead in the last three years.
Authorities have blamed homegrown Islamists for the attacks which have spiked in recent weeks, rejecting claims of responsibility from the Islamic State (IS) group and a South Asian branch of Al Qaeda.
Khan said Sunday’s killing was revenge for Akter’s successful crackdown against local JMB militants that led to the death of the regional chief Mohammad Javed.
Begum’s murder was followed hours later by the machete killing of a Christian grocer at his store in the northeast - an attack later claimed by IS.
Bangladesh’s secular government blames its opponents over the killings, saying they are trying to destabilise the country.
Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.

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