DHAKA : Bangladesh’s former military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad threatened to kill himself Thursday after security forces besieged his home following his decision to boycott next month’s elections.

“I have loaded four pistols and I’ve told the government that if they play any tricks with me, I will kill myself,” Ershad told a local television crew during an interview inside his home in the early hours.  “I will die before the RAB (the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion) or the police can lay a finger on me,” he said, before making a trigger-pulling gesture towards his head.

The 83-year-old said Tuesday that he would not take part in the January 5 polls, further undermining the credibility of a contest which is also being boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies.

Large numbers of security forces then gathered on Wednesday outside his home in the upmarket Baridhara neighbourhood of the capital Dhaka, fuelling expectations the general was about to be arrested.