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 'Militancy not a threat to our image, yet'......................

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PostSubject: 'Militancy not a threat to our image, yet'......................   Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:24 pm



Foreign minister Dipu Moni says she does not see 'militancy' as a threat to the country's image abroad right now as terrorism is not Bangladesh's problem alone.

"Right at this moment, I don't consider militancy, if the situation does not deteriorate further, as a challenge for the country's image," Dipu Moni said Wednesday, in her first press conference since her appointment as foreign minister on Jan 6.

"Many countries in the world have been facing the menace of terrorism and militancy. This is not a problem only in Bangladesh or any particular country," the foreign minister told journalists hours before her departure for Malaysia.

"Like many countries, business activities, investments and their foreign relations go uninterrupted despite terrorist and militant attacks. These are also going in our country," she said.

As reporters questioned her over cautions by different ministers of dangers of 'militant attacks' on civilian targets, Dipu Moni said militancy could not go deeper in Bangladesh following the victory of secular democratic parties in the Dec 29 elections.

With the foreign minister preparing to leave for the Malaysian capital later in the day, she also revealed that a "politically sensitive" statement made by the Bangladesh labour counsellor in Kuala Lumpur might have caused Malaysia's recent cancellation of 55,000 visas for Bangladeshi workers.

She, however, said the demand for Bangladeshi workers in Southeast Asian nations was still high despite global recession.

Dipu Moni is set to attend the general assembly of the ruling party of Malaysia as representative of the prime minister. Labour and overseas employment minister Mosharraf Hossain will join her, flying from Geneva.

Business concerns

On Monday, the head of the country's top trade body had said excessive references to militancy could tarnish Bangladesh's image in the international community, having a direct negative impact on the economy.

"We all should be aware that if there is too much talk of militancy, others might take it to be true," FBCCI president Annisul Huq said in a pre-budget discussion.

He attributed the references to 'militant activity' in the country for refusal of foreign visas to two FBCCI directors.

"There are also rumours in the air that the Malaysian government cancelled the work permits of 55,000 Bangladeshi workers due to militant activities here," Huq said.

"I don't believe this personally, but if it is true, it's really a sad instance for us," said Huq.

Huq was speaking amid widespread reports that militancy may be on the rise in Bangladesh and speculation that the Feb 25-26 BDR mutiny may also have had militant links.

Massive arms haul at Bhola madrasa

Meanwhile, the Rapid Action Battalion on Tuesday seized a massive cache of arms and ammunition, bomb-making materials and equipment from a madrasa complex at Borhanuddin Upazila, some 20 kilometres from Bhola district headquarters.

The elite anticrime force detained four suspected militants including two staffers of Green Crescent Madrasa and Orphanage at Ram Keshobpur in Sachra union in the three-hour raid from noon on the madrasa.

Leader of the Barisal-8 RAB team, which carried out the raid, Major K M Mamun said 'Green Crescent' was found to be an 'NGO' based in London.

The recovery includes four handguns, four shotguns, 700 handgun and 200 shotgun bullets, two binoculars, two remote-control devices, six life jackets, 20 facemasks, two walkie-talkies and as many mobile phones.
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'Militancy not a threat to our image, yet'......................
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