The United States on Wednesday said some of the raids conducted by Bangladesh law enforcement authorities, particularly the Rapid Action Battalion, for containing terrorism were ‘staged’.
‘Observers believe at least some of the raids are staged by law enforcement, particularly the RAB,’ the US Department of State said in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2016, released on Wednesday night (BDT).
Bangladesh government often attributed extremist violence to the political opposition and local militants, it also said.
When contacted, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told New Age on Thursday that he would not make any comment before going through the US report.
The US also stated, with reference to 2016 APG Mutual Evaluation, by Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, that Bangladesh required ‘significant improvement’ in effectiveness in implementing regulations on containing terrorist-finance threat.
The US claimed in the report that the main terrorist finance threat to Bangladesh ‘is from domestic groups that operate using small-scale funding’ derived through micro-financing methods.
Bangladesh judicial sector ‘is under-resourced’ for carrying out prosecutions and obtaining convictions in cases related to terrorist-finance, the US said, adding that Bangladesh banking and non-banking sectors ‘require further implementation of preventative measures’ such as customer due diligence and suspicious transaction reports.
The US, however, appreciated Bangladesh law enforcement and intelligence agencies saying that these agencies demonstrated a strong understanding of terrorist-finance risks.
Bangladesh government ‘has articulated a zero-tolerance policy’ towards terrorism, made numerous arrests of terrorist suspects, and continued its counterterrorism cooperation with the international community, according to the report.
Bangladesh shared law enforcement information with INTERPOL, but ‘does not have a dedicated terrorist watch-list’.
Bangladesh also ‘does not have an interactive advanced passenger’ information system.
Despite lacking laws specific to foreign terrorist fighters, Bangladesh arrested suspected foreign terrorist fighters or facilitators of such fighters on other charges under existing law.
Bangladesh cooperated with the United States to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry, according to the report.
The report also stated that Bangladesh experienced a significant increase in terrorist activity in 2016. Transnational groups such as ISIS and AQIS claimed several attacks targeting foreigners, religious minorities, police, secular bloggers, and publishers.
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