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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Bangladeshi councillors demand safety
Bangladeshi Police
Dhaka councillors demand 24 hour police protection

City councillors in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka are demanding extra security from the government after two of their colleagues were shot dead by gangsters in the last four days.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, a city councillor and his body guard were killed by unidentified gunmen while they were walking to work.

The killings have aroused a wave of panic among the remaining 90 city councillors, who were elected in April this year.

To date, four councillors have been killed since the elections in April.

Mafia

Police reports say their close connection with the mafia has resulted in infighting between underworld groups.

Dhaka street scene
Two city councillors killed in Dhaka

City councillors in Dhaka are mainly responsible for overseeing development work in their catchments and looking after civic amenities.

Their role extends within the community when they mediate in resolving local disputes.

But recently there has been growing concern among the people of Dhaka about the role of some of the city councillors.

They say members of the city council are increasingly involved with criminal activities.

During the city council elections, held earlier this year, newspaper reports informed of a number of candidates with criminal records contesting the elections.

And now many of the council members in question have been elected.

One report says a city councillor contested the election from prison and was then released on parole to take the oath of office.

Political analysts say many council members are linked to corruption through their associations with the local mafia in their efforts to gain more control.

Fear

In addition, city councillors have control over construction deals and the power to sway bids in favour of people they know.


The government was slow in responding to the request for extra security and police were partially responsible for failing to stop these killings

Sadek Hossain Mayor of Dhaka
Many councillors who fear for their lives have hired personal body guards to protect them.

But in the latest incident, both the bodyguard and the councillor were killed.

The city councillors are now demanding 24 hour police protection.

The Mayor of Dhaka, Sadek Hossain said they were extremely worried about the security of the city councillors.

He said the government was slow in responding to the request for extra security, and the police were partially responsible for failing to stop these killings.

However, Mr Hossain denied allegations that many of his city councillors were involved with criminal groups.

See also:

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