The US says the terrorist threat to Bangladesh remains “real and credible”

The US says the terrorist threat to Bangladesh remains “real and credible”

The US Government has assessed the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka as a "high threat" location for terrorist activity, heightening safety fears for foreign garment buyers visiting the country.

The US State Department made the assessment in its Bangladesh 2017 Crime and Safety Report, prepared and released by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). The annual report, produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the US Embassy in Dhaka, alerts US citizens to concerns about the ongoing potential for extremist violence in Bangladesh.

It urges US citizens travelling to Bangladesh to exercise "appropriate caution and maintain a high level of vigilance" in light of recent violent attacks. It says the terrorist threat remains "real and credible," and that further attacks are possible.

On 1 July 2016, terrorists killed more than 20 Westerners in a restaurant in Dhaka, many of whom were working in the garment sector. Separate incidents in October 2015 saw an Italian aid worker and a Japanese citizen shot dead.

This is the second such travel warning by the US State Department this year. In January, it warned of Islamic State (IS) terrorists targeting clothing buyers in the country's most secure zones.

There have been public claims of responsibility by IS for the killing of the Italian and Japanese nationals, but the State Department points out that the terrorist group has threatened to continue "discovering security gaps and holes" to target "expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, [and] sports teams" in Bangladesh.

Industry observers have repeatedly questioned whether the attacks would mark a tipping point for Bangladesh, but Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA), reiterated to just-style that it remains "business as usual" in the sector, despite tightening security. 

Last month, Bangladesh's garment manufacturers said they have been receiving special government support since the attacks, with a step up in security to help allay any fears citizens or visitors may have over safety.

Update - Bangladesh "business as usual" despite US warning