More than 3,000 people, including militants, have been arrested in Bangladesh as part of efforts to end the series of attacks against minorities and bloggers, among others. Police began conducting raids last week after the wife of a senior anti-terror police officer was killed by religious extremists in Chittagong, The New York Times reported.
The raids began early on Friday, spokesperson for the Bangladeshi police, AKM Kamrul Ahsan, said. Five members of the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh – one of two groups believed to be behind most of the attacks – were killed in shootouts with police over the week. This nationwide crackdown followed criticism of the government for not having taken action sooner. In a meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed to catch the killers.
Bangladesh has been witness to a spate of attacks against religious minorities, bloggers, foreigners, LGBT activists and others for the past three years. On April 23, a university professor was murdered near his home in Rajshahi. A senior editor of the country’s first LGBT magazine Roopban was hacked to death on April 25. A 70-year-old Buddhist monk was found murdered inside a monastery on May 14. In the most recent attacks, a Christian businessman and the wife of a senior policeman were killed a few hours apart on June 5.