Dhaka: Bangladesh has allowed police to open fire when faced with attackers after the killing of two policemen this week as well as the recent slayings of two foreigners and a publisher, claimed by the Islamic State.
“The personnel of the law enforcement agencies have been allowed to open fire if they are attacked while on duty,” said a police spokesman. Authorities on Thursday night issued a six-point security guideline in view of the target killing of security personnel. “Apply force in keeping with rules and even open fire if necessary in the event of any police personnel on duty being attacked,” says one of the instructions.
The directives came amid growing concerns about police inefficiency particularly after the fatal attack on the police checkpoint at Ashulia near Dhaka when three on duty policemen fled the scene as a colleague of theirs was hacked to death and another was critically wounded. The Prothom Alo newspaper on Friday reported that the five policemen at the makeshift check post could not respond to the motorbike-borne assailants as they were carrying rifles without ammunition.
The police circular also said that two constables must be on guard with loaded magazines during searches at check posts and if an adequate number of policemen could not be mobilised, then “there is no need to set up any check post in that area”. Ruling Awami League spokesman Mahbubul Alam Hanif earlier said that despite their skills, manpower shortage appeared to be a major obstacle for the law enforcement agencies.
Spokesman of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Monirul Islam on Tuesday said the main law enforcement agency required a specialised unit to handle clandestine attacks by suspected Islamists or other such organised groups. “Under the circumstances, we need a specialised unit to combat militancy,” he said.
Bangladesh has in the past three months witnessed murders of an Italian aid worker, a Japanese farmer, the attack on a Shiite rally, killing of two policemen and assassination of a progressive book publisher. According to US-based SITE Jihadist monitoring group, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibilities for most of the murders. However, Bangladesh authorities have repeatedly rejected ISIS existence in the country and attributed the assaults carried out in the name of ISIS to a section of the ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s BNP and its crucial ally — fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami.