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5 arrested in Bangladesh coup plot

world Updated: Jan 22, 2012 08:02 IST

Bangladesh's elite anti-terror force has arrested five members of the banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir in connection with a failed coup attempt, as it launched a massive manhunt to nab key suspect Major Syed Ziaul Haque.

Rapid Action Battalion has arrested five activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir which was suspected to have links with the plot through Major Haque, an army spokesman said on Saturday.

The spokesman said that a massive manhunt was underway to arrest the fugitive Major and law enforcing agency raided his in-laws home in southwestern Patuakhali district yesterday as part of the campaign.

One security personnel was injured during the arrests on Friday.

Bangladesh army on Thursday said it has foiled a plot to topple the government and have arrested two former officers besides launching a manhunt for a fugitive in-service Major while some 16 others are being kept under strict vigil.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday accused opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of having involvement in the failed coup plot.

Speaking at a party meeting, she said the abortive coup had a visible link with BNP chief and her arch-rival Khaleda Zia's earlier comments pledging to out the government by 2012.

"There will be no more usurping power in Bangladesh by taking shortcuts," she said.

No comments from BNP was immediately available on Hasina's remark but a senior party leader and former law minister Moudud Ahmed rejected the allegation saying BNP never wanted to go to power through undemocratic means.

"Awami League government's failure and their extreme bad governance might have prompted the abortive coup," he said.