The Bangladeshi military said it has foiled an attempted coup against the government by a group of “fanatic” Islamic officers.
Brigadier General Masud Razzaq, a spokesman for the army, said the move against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was averted by the whole-hearted efforts of army soldiers and described the culprits of adhering to extreme religious views.
A band of fanatic officers had been trying to oust the politically established government. Their attempt has been foiled, he said in a statement.
The plotters were identified as 16 hard-line Islamists, including at least two retired officers. Some of the conspirators had been detained and will face trial.
However, interestingly, Razzaq also noted that the plot to overthrow Hasina was hatched by Bangladeshis living abroad.
Hasina, who took over the country from a military-backed regime in 2009, has long faced threats from Islamic militants and other radicals. The military has had a heavy influence on Bangladesh’s government, even ruling the nation from roughly 1975 to 1990.
In fact, soon after she seized power in Bangladesh, paramilitary forces staged a revolt to try to oust her. The plot was crushed, but cost the lives of at least 70 people, including 51 military officers.
BBC reported that measures taken by Hasina last year to make the constitution more secular angered Muslim militants, particularly those in the military, despite the fact that Islam was explicitly retained as the official state religion.
The country has been a constitutional democracy sine 1990.