DHAKA: A bomb exploded Friday at a place of worship of the minority Ahmadi group in Bangladesh’s northwestern town of Bagmara leaving the suspected suicide bomber dead and three other people injured, police said.
Police said the bomb blast occurred when the small Ahmadiya Jamaat place of worship at Bagmara, some 250 kilometres from the capital, Dhaka, was packed with worshippers during Friday prayers.
“One person died on the spot and three other people were injured. It seems he was carrying the bomb and it looks like it was a suspected suicide blast,” local police chief Motiar Rahman told AFP.
Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury, a spokesperson of the Ahmadiya Jamaat in Bangladesh said there were two unknown people who came to the place of worship where nearly 100 people including women joined the Friday prayers.
“The bomb was detonated during the prayers. One of the two unknown people died. It appears that he was a suicide bomber,” Choudhury told AFP.
He added that four Ahmadis were injured including one whose condition is serious.
No group has claimed responsibility, but in recent months, homegrown outlawed militant group, Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on a top Shia shrine and a Shia mosque in northern Bangladesh.
Members of other minority groups, including Sufis — who adhere to a mystical form of Islam deemed by some militant hardliners as heretical – have also been attacked and killed, and two Christian priests have survived attacks claimed by militants.
Bangladesh has been roiled by rising unrest which has seen four atheist bloggers and a publisher hacked to death this year.
Two foreigners have also been shot dead — a Japanese farmer and an Italian aid worker — while several priests were threatened and two policemen hacked to death.
Last week two bombs exploded at a mosque inside a navy base in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong , injuring at least six people. Local media put the toll much higher.
Police blame the JMB for the recent violence while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government accuses the main opposition party and its militant ally of trying to trigger anarchy. The parties deny the claims.
Analysts say militants pose a growing danger in conservative Bangladesh and that a long-running political crisis has radicalised opponents of the government.
Ahmadis are a tiny group in Bangladesh. In the past, its members have been attacked by hardline militants and often barred from setting up places of worship.