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Bangladesh coup attempt: 5 members of banned Islamist outfit arrested

Dhaka: Bangladesh's elite counter-terrorist force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Friday arrested five members of the banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir from Dhaka, a day after the army said it had foiled a coup attempt. Sources said that one of the main plotters has been identified as Major Zia-ul-Haq who's linked to the extremist religious group.

A detective of the RAB was injured during the arrests, some media reports said.

The Bangladesh army had said yesterday that Major Haq's links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir are proved, as the extremist outfit distributed leaflets reading the 'Tale of Major Zia-ul-Haq' soon after his remarks about his 'detention' were posted on Facebook.

Major Haq was posted at the Mirpur Cantonment, near the capital Dhaka.

According to the Bangladesh army, Major Haq met a senior officer on December 22 and tried to provoke him into using the army against the state. The officer immediately informed the appropriate authorities, and his leave and transfer orders were cancelled.

He did not return to work and is absconding.

Major Haq sent an email late last month alleging, among other charges, an Indian plot to turn Bangladesh into a client state. Major Haq and his fellow plotters have been against the recent growing closeness between Dhaka and New Delhi.

Bangladesh, a parliamentary democracy, has a long history of coups and counter coups.

The country was under direct or indirect military rule for over a decade, since August 15, 1975, when Bangladesh's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most of his family members.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, elements in the army had staged around 18 to 19 coups, in which thousands of people had to die, Daily Star reported.

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