Govt was informed about security threats: Bernicat

Diplomatic Correspondent
US ambassador Marcia Bernicat addresses a press conference organised by DCAB at National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo

US ambassador Marcia Bernicat addresses a press conference organised by DCAB at National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday. — New Age photo

The US ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, said on Monday that the government was informed about the security threats to foreigners.
‘We shared the information,’ Bernicat said replying to a query at a function styled DCAB Talk hosted by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh at the National Press Club on Monday.
The ambassador, however, did not elaborate which embassy communicated the information to which authorities in Bangladesh, when and how.
Canada, European Union, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States issued travel advisories in almost identical words asking their nationals to remain cautious during their movement and about attending gatherings attended by foreigners.
The advisories were issued after an Italian and a Japanese national were shot dead in Dhaka and Rangpur on September 28 and October 3 respectively.
Bernicat reiterated the need to investigate the killings thoroughly ‘considering every possibility.’
On a question about the basis of credible information on threats  mentioned in the travel alerts issued by the United States and some other countries, the ambassador said, ‘We know that there were credible threat issues before the first killing took place.’
In order for any threat to be considered credible the US embassy look at whole range of sources ranging from ‘the public, from their partners and their own sources,’ she said, ‘That’s certainly the case here.’
Asked about the claims made by Islamic State for the responsibility for the two killings, she said when Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took credit for all such incidents anywhere in the world, the US authorities would verify that information.
‘We are in the process of doing to know whether those claims were accurate. It will help us and all the partners to be able to better track terrorist activities around the world,’ Bernicat said.
She said that the United States was ready to support Bangladesh in every way needed to fight the ‘emergence of IS here.
‘We have everything we need to fight the emergence of ISIL in Bangladesh,’ she said, ‘we should never underestimate the enemy.’
The ambassador said, ‘The best we can do is to investigate the killings thoroughly considering every possibility. We have to work together. Terrorists try to destroy our way of life.’
Bernicate made the statement after prime minister Sheikh Hasina and several of her cabinet colleagues brushed aside the possibility of presence of IS here.
On a question whether they felt safer after government measures so far, Bernicat said that the US communities feel safer now than before following the security measures taken by the government.
‘Both attacks are done in a very similar manner and it is unusual in Bangladesh…Bangladeshi people’s hospitality to foreigners is legendary…It has not changed,’ she said.
Bangladesh has made extraordinary accomplishments in a very short period, the ambassador said, ‘nothing, absolutely nothing, can diminish those accomplishments.’
DCAB president Masud Karim conducted the talk that was also addressed by general secretary Bashir Ahmed.

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