BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Bill Hayton
"Police say the bomb was hidden under a table"
 real 56k

Sunday, 17 June, 2001, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Bangladesh hunts party office bombers
Police guard the scene of the blast in Narayanganj
Local people are in shock at the brutality of the attack
The Bangladesh Government has ordered an investigation to find the culprits behind a powerful bomb explosion at local offices of the governing Awami League.

This is a heinous attack and we have ordered an investigation to find the culprits

Home Minister Mohammad Nasim
The attack left at least 21 dead and injured more than 100 others, some critically.

The Home Minister, Mohammad Nasim, called the bombing a "heinous attack" as he visited the scene.

The injured include the local member of parliament, Shamim Osman.

He had been addressing party supporters at the offices in the port town of Narayanganj, near the capital Dhaka, when the blast occurred.

Bangladesh Home Minsiter Mohammad
Mr Nasim comforting Shamim Osman, the local MP
No group has admitted carrying out the attack at 2130 local time (1530 GMT) on Saturday, but Mr Nasim has blamed Islamic extremists.

The explosion happened during a meeting of the party ahead of a general election scheduled for October.

According to one report 14 people were killed instantly in the explosion, while the rest died in hospital or while trying to get there.

Political rivalries in Bangladesh are intense and often explode in violence ahead of elections.

Bomb explosions:
June 3 2001: 10 people killed at a church in Gopalgnaj
April 14 2001: 12 die during celebrations for the Bengali New Year in Dhaka
January 20 2001: Six people die in two explosions in Dhaka on the communist party and the Awami League
March 6 1999: 10 people killed by two bombs at Jessore in western Bangladesh
Street fights between rival activists and bomb attacks are common during campaigns.

Police say that the device was hidden under a table and that many people died immediately.

The tin roof of the office was blown off by the force of the explosion, a spokesman for the Narayangangj police said.

Television pictures broadcast in Bangladesh showed bodies badly burned or ripped apart by the explosion.

The emergency services are now making urgent appeals for blood donations.

Series of bombs

This explosion is the latest in a series of random bomb blasts in Bangladesh for which no group has claimed responsibility.

In June there was a bomb attack on a Roman Catholic church in which 10 people were killed.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is facing a strong challenge in the upcoming elections
Two months before that another bomb went off during a concert in the capital Dhaka to celebrate the Bengali new year - eight people were killed.

On that occasion the government had also blamed Islamic extremists.

The Awami League government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is facing a strong challenge from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party at the elections.

The prime minister is shortly expected to hand over power to a caretaker administration before the vote is held.

The government last week approved a law which proposes to give Sheikh Hasina life-long security.

It says that her life is under threat after the conviction of 12 former army officials found guilty of murdering her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was the first president of Bangladesh.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

03 Jun 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh church bomb kills nine
01 Apr 01 | South Asia
Violence hits Bangladesh
24 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Bangladesh
14 Apr 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh bomb: Man arrested
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories