In a massive wave of police crackdowns, Bangladesh has arrested 3,155 people in a span of just 24 hours. Just prior to the operation Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed publicly to catch “each and every killer”.
Since 2013 Bangladesh has seen 39 public murders by militant groups, often carried out with a machete. These attacks, which usually target bloggers, activists and religious minorities, have been accelerating recently, with 5 public executions in the last 10 days.
The recent police crackdown resulted in the arrest of 37 suspected Islamic militants, 27 members of a militant group known as Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh and thousands of other criminals with outstanding warrants. The crackdown has also resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 motorcycles, which are often used as the getaway vehicle in these public executions.
However, it is being reported that not a single high-level militant individual was arrested, despite the chief of the police counterterrorism unit saying in an interview recently that they have identified the leaders of multiple militant groups involved in the murders.
The political opposition in Bangladesh has been quick to accuse the current of government of using the crackdowns to suppress the opposition while disguising it as an operation against Islamic militants.