Bangladesh has ordered an intensified security vigil for 68 jails across the country after warnings of possible terror attacks in the wake of nationwide anti- militants clampdown, senior officials said on Saturday.
“Instructions have been issued to intensify the security of our prisons. Directives have been sent out also for enforcing an extra vigil around the jails premises as well,” Inspector general of prisons Brigadier General Syed Iftekhar Uddin on Saturday said.
He said an intelligence report warning against a possible major terror attack to destablise the country prompted the jail authorities to revise the security systems of the prisons.
“We asked our (jail) officials to follow some instructions. They were also asked to keep an extra eye on the security around the jail complexes,” the prison chief said.
Dhaka Central Jail officials said they issued a “red alert” to ensure maximum security of the facility deploying extra number of prison guards in and around the complex.
“As part of the measures visitors’ entry has been restricted and check in security has been strengthened. We have asked the prison guards to quiz suspicious people around the prisons as well,” Dhaka Central Jail Superintendent Jahangir Kabir said.
He said under the intensified security, inmates activities would now be monitored extensively while visitors will be allowed to meet their relatives in jail only after screening.
The prison officials did not elaborate about the intelligence report on the possible militant attack but said the correction facilities could be a target of militant attacks as the major prisons currently hold over 400 militants. Police said their detective branch alone arrested 107 operatives of different militant outfits last year and 38 in the first five months of the current year.
Dhaka Tribune newspaper quoted unidentified police officials as saying that some detained militants revealed during interrogations that since last year the Islamist outfits were working to wage a massive armed revolution to topple the government and establish an Islamic state.
“The militants were also desperate to free their top leaders from jail or snatch them from the prison vans,” the report said.
Another report suggested that the authorities issued the alert two days ago following a warning from the Home Ministry that a car bomb attack might occur in any prison. Under a nationwide anti-militancy security campaign, several suspected Islamists have been killed in encounters with security personnel.