Bangladesh begins nationwide campaign to trace missing youth

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Kolkata, July 14 (IANS) With several of the militants involved in the deadly Dhaka terror strikes turning out to be educated youth who have been missing for months, the Bangladesh government has initiated a nationwide campaign to identify them and maintain a database, a top Bangladesh official said here on Thursday.

Interacting with the media on the sidelines of event here, Adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister, Gowher Rizvi also did not rule out the probability of the missing youths joining the Islamic State (IS) militant group that claimed responsibility for July 1 massacre, in which seven assailants took the lives of 22 people, including 18 foreigners and two police officials.

“We are undertaking a nationwide campaign identifying places from where young men have disappeared. We are maintaining a database and trying to track them,” said Rizvi.

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He said the government was collaborating with various stakeholders to find out the reasons behind educated youth getting sucked into terrorism.

“Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes, they have no religion, no humanity. This has taught us to look everywhere as to why educated youth are being attracted? How are they getting sucked into this?

“That is why we are bringing universities, teachers, other stakeholders together to find out if there is any flaw in the curriculum, are we as parents, neglecting our children, is the government doing something that is alienating our youth from the society.

“This is the time for soul searching,” said Rizvi.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged all to remain vigilant about the movement of their children to prevent them from getting derailed.

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Not ruling out the probability of the missing youths getting lured by the IS, Rizvi also expressed apprehension of more terror strikes.

“We have heightened up the security, but we fear, there may be more attacks. But we are equally determined and prepared to counter them,” he said.

In the wake of the US offering its assistance including the FBI in the terror attack probe, Rizvi asserted Bangladesh will seek international assistance if needed.

“We are not averse to US’s help but at the same time we have our own expertise, counter terrorism mechanism and we can manage.

“But this is for sure whenever we will need any assistance, we will take as terrorism is our main concern. We will be sharing the forensic findings (of the Dhaka attack) with all our partner countries,” he added.

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