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UK welcomes arrest of Islamic militants in B'desh

Bangladesh's elite Rapid Action Battalion security force captured top militant Siddiqul Islam, alias Bangla Bhai on Monday.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 17:19 IST

Britain welcomed Wednesday the capture of two Islamic militant leaders in Bangladesh wanted for a deadly wave of nationwide bombings.

"The Bangladeshi authorities are to be congratulated," British Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said in a statement hailing the capture of in the past week of the leader and second in command of the militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

The group has been waging a bloody campaign to have strict Islamic laws imposed in the Muslim but secular nation of 140 million people.

"This is a significant advance in the counter-terrorism activities of the government of Bangladesh and an important part of wider efforts to combat international terrorism," Howells said in the statement released here.

Bangladesh's elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) security force captured the group's deputy leader Siddiqul Islam, alias Bangla Bhai (Bangla Brother) on Monday after a brief gunbattle.

Police and security forces were due to begin questioning Islam, who was wounded in the encounter, within a few days, a RAB official said Wednesday.

The capture followed last Thursday's surrender of JMB's top leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

Rahman is accused of masterminding a wave of blasts and suicide bombings which have rocked Bangladesh since August 17 when over 400 explosive devices were detonated almost simultaneously in towns and cities across the country.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 17:19 IST