British high commissioner survives bomb attack at shrine in Bangladesh

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Britain's top diplomat in Bangladesh escaped with minor injuries yesterday after a bomb thrown at a crowd of worshippers hit him and bounced off before detonating.

Britain's top diplomat in Bangladesh escaped with minor injuries yesterday after a bomb thrown at a crowd of worshippers hit him and bounced off before detonating.

Two Bangladeshi men were killed and more than 40 people injured by the blast during noon prayers at a Muslim shrine in Sylhet, north-east Bangladesh. Attackers targeted the shrine during a visit by the new British High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury, which had been well-publicised in the area.

The Foreign Office said it could not rule out the possibility it was an attempt to assassinate Mr Choudhury, who took up his post earlier this month.

Speaking from hospital in Sylhet, where he was treated for leg injuries, Mr Choudhury, 44, described how the bomb hit him before bouncing off. "The bomb hit my stomach after it was hurled but did not explode. It fell on the ground near the foot of the district chief and then exploded with a big bang."

The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he was "deeply shocked" by the blast. "I extend my sympathies to all the victims and their families.We are grateful for support from the Bangladeshi authorities."

Mr Choudhury and his bodyguard - a Bangladeshi policeman who was more seriously injured - were due to be flown back to Dhaka by army helicopter last night.

Officials were investigating whether any other British citizens were hurt in the blast.

In January a bomb killed five worshippers at the shrine. No one has been arrested but Islamic extremists have been widely blamed.

Comments