The US Embassy in Dhaka issued an emergency message to American citizens in Bangladesh with a reminder to remain vigilant following an attack of one of its official vehicles where an embassy driver was injured.
The Embassy confirms that a U.S. Embassy vehicle was attacked in Dhaka outside of the diplomatic enclave early this morning. Our driver sustained minor injuries and has received medical treatment. The vehicle also sustained significant damage and is now at the Embassy annex. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident. All members of the American community should remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.
We remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Be alert and aware at all times – in addition to possible violence, large crowds attract pick-pocketing. All individuals are reminded to carry their mobile phones with them at all times. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Local reports says that the Jamaat-e-Islami took responsibility for the attack by its supporters and offered apology:
Police have filed a case under the Speedy Trial Act accusing five people of vandalism and arson attempt, Khilkhet Police Station Officer-in-Charge Shamim Hossain said.
Habildar Siddiqul Islam, the plaintiff, also accused 10-15 unidentified others.
“On 4th December, at around 8.45 AM, a US Embassy motor pool vehicle was attacked by a crowd causing minor injuries to the driver and damage to the vehicle,” read the press statement posted on the official website of the party whose top leadership is currently behind bars on charge of committing crimes against humanity.
“After carrying out a preliminary inquiry into the matter, we accept responsibility for this unfortunate incident, which is the first of its kind. We condemn it. We offer our apologies to the US Embassy and to the victims and will provide compensation,” the statement continued.
The website attributed the statement to their Acting Secretary General Md Shafiqur Rahman.
In a separate Daily Star report, Kelly McCarthy, press and information officer of the embassy, was quoted as saying that the vehicle was attacked in the vicinity of Pragati Sarani and Airport Road, injuring the driver and several policemen in the vehicle:
McCarthy said the injured driver was receiving treatment for his injuries.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on our diplomatic vehicle in Dhaka today,” she said, adding, “The United States places a high priority on the safety and security of diplomatic personnel and any attack on diplomatic property or personnel is an affront to the entire international community.”
She said the US embassy appreciated the assistance and support of the government and Dhaka Metropolitan Police to protect American citizens and US embassy property.
“We call upon the perpetrators to be held accountable for this unprovoked attack on a diplomatic vehicle and its innocent occupants,” she said.
- General strike disrupts life in Bangladesh (edition.cnn.com)
- Jamaat shutdown marked by arson, violence (thehindu.com)
- US Embassy car damaged in Dhaka protests (nation.com.pk)
- One killed as Bangladesh opposition protests against 1971 war crime trials (dawn.com)
- Protesters Arrested in Bangladesh (voanews.com)