Police question suspect over Bangladesh bombing


DHAKA, Bangladesh, AP

A college student is being questioned in connection with the bombing of an open-air New Year concert that killed nine people and wounded 26, police said Sunday.

The blast hit as 2,000 revelers welcomed Pahela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, early Saturday at a park in downtown Dhaka

No one claimed responsibility. However, police suspect the bombing was the work of four young men who lived together in a rented house in Demra, an industrial town near the capital Dhaka.

The college student was detained late Saturday for questioning. Police identified him only as Swadhin. Another suspect is believed to be dead in the blast. Two others are among the 10 people being treated in two state-run hospitals.

“We are interrogating the detained man and keeping close watch on the two other injured suspects in hospitals,” Abdul Hannan, the police officer investigating the blast told reporters.

The two will be questioned after they recover, Hannan said.

President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia, in separate statements, condemned the attack and called for punishing the perpetrators.

Curious men, women and children visited the site of the explosion, a lush green area still cordoned off by police.

Artists, teachers and academics have planned a protest rally in Dhaka University campus on Sunday.

An army bomb disposal squad late Saturday defused another device that was left lying near the site of the explosion that rocked the concert.

A second explosion near the site injured a police officer who was examining the device.

On Saturday police recovered part of a steel pipe stuffed with explosives and wires jutting out. The device was apparently carried in a gift-wrapped cardboard box found nearby.

Police and army experts were examining the splinters and some papers found on the victims.

Seven people were killed instantly, while two others died at two state-run hospitals, doctors said.

A political standoff over when the country’s next national election will be held has led to a series of general strikes and many clashes. At least 12 people were killed this month in violence between rival groups who used homemade bombs and guns against each other.