Foreign diplomats in Dhaka have sought security for their nationals living in Bangladesh in the wake of the murder of two foreigners.
The call came on Tuesday after the government briefed them on security measures for expatriates.
British High Commissioner Robert Gibson, also the dean of diplomatic corps, said they talked about ‘tightening’ security and thanked Bangladeshi authorities for the measures already in place.
Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella and Japanese Kunio Hoshi were gunned down in Dhaka and Rangpur on Sept 28 and Oct 3 in a similar manner.
Businesses say they fear the identical murders may pose fresh threats to Bangladesh’s export-led garment industry and the tourism sector.
Gibson said the killing of foreigners was “unfortunate”.
Before the briefing, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told bdnews24.com the government had taken ‘special’ security measures for the foreigners.
Ambassadors, high commissioners and charge d’affaires from different missions, among others, were present at the joint briefing by the foreign and home ministries.
Japanese Ambassador Masato Watanabe thanked the government for its support and cooperation after Kunio’s murder, a foreign ministry statement said.
Diplomats asked the government to speed up investigations into the two murders.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said the envoys were happy with the government’s security arrangements.
They had informed the diplomats about the measures taken for foreigners in the diplomatic zone as well as those who work in remote areas on development projects.
Tavella was killed in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone while Kunio was murdered in a village in Rangpur.
Local administrations have been put on high alert, the statement said.
Bangladesh has rejected reports of the militant group Islamic State claiming responsibility for the killings.
An Indian media report on Tuesday said the intelligence agencies there suspected the involvement of Jamaat-e-Islami hardliners.
Several counties have curtailed the movement of their nationals in Bangladesh amid security concerns.
“They (the diplomats) requested us to beef up security,” Minister Ali said. “We’ve told them not to worry.”
Responding to a question, Gibson said they felt ‘assured’ with the government’s measures but stressed beefing up security across the country.
He quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying that everyone needs to work together to combat terrorism as it posed threat to all.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, secretaries to home and foreign ministries, inspector general of police, RAB director general, and DMP commissioner were also present at the briefing.
Foreign Minister Ali said they informed the diplomats that there was no proof of IS’s involvement with those killings.
“We haven’t got any credible evidence yet,” he said, replying to a question.
He said US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat had reiterated that Washington was working to verify whether or not those claims were accurate.
Ali skirted a direct reply on whether they had discussed lifting travel restrictions imposed by some countries in Bangladesh.
“It came only a few days ago and we held a meeting today,” he said. “It’ll take time.”