DHAKA - Bangladesh police claimed Monday they had arrested three suspected Pakistani militants who were allegedly carrying a bomb-making manual and other material in the capital Dhaka.
The three arrested on Sunday night admitted under police questioning to having received training from the Pakistani Taliban in carrying out attacks, a Dhaka police spokesman claimed.
The arrests come as Bangladesh police step up a security crackdown following January 5 elections that were boycotted by the main opposition and its Islamist allies and marred by deadly unrest.
“A bomb-making manual and a laptop containing information on military training were seized from them,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The three migrated to Pakistan from western Myanmar and were later trained by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the statement said.
“They have special trainings in car bombs. They took training on grenade and IEDs from the main trainers of the TTP in Pakistan’s territory of Waziristan,” Dhaka police spokesman Monirul Islam told reporters.
After winning the elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government ordered a crackdown on Islamist activists, accusing them of leading deadly unrest in the weeks before and during the elections.
Security forces have arrested more than 1,000 protesters since the elections, which were boycotted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies, including the largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. Throughout last year Islamists also protested at the trial of more than a dozen of their leaders for war crimes allegedly committed during 1971 war.
Hasina’s secular government set up the war crimes tribunal in 2010, but Islamists and the opposition say the trials that started last year were politically-motivated and aimed at eradicating their leadership.
Clashes between Islamists and police over the trials and the elections killed more than 500 people in 2013, in what rights groups have said was the deadliest political violence since 1971.