Bangladesh: Government must investigate bomb attack on two journalists

New York, February 17, 2006— The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Bangladeshi authorities to fully investigate the bomb attack on Mahfuz Mamun and Babul Ahmed, writers for the daily Dainik Mathabhanga. Media reports in Bangladesh said the two men had written stories on drug trafficking for their paper a few weeks before the February 15 attack.

The two men were riding together on a bicycle when an unidentified assailant hurled an explosive device at them in Chuadanga town, 95 miles (150 kilometers) west of the capital Dhaka. Both men needed surgery to remove shrapnel from their legs.

Chuadanga is in Khulna province in southwestern Bangladesh where nine journalists have been attacked in the past six years. Criminal gangs, drug traffickers, and outlawed political groups operating with impunity near the province’s border with India, are suspected of being involved in the attacks, although none of the cases has ever been brought to trial.

“Bangladeshi authorities are notorious for not following through when they investigate such attacks. Bangladesh is one of the five most murderous countries for journalists in the world,” said CPJ’s executive director Ann Cooper. “If local authorities do not meet their responsibilities in investigating the attacks on Mahfuz Mamun and Babul Ahmed, then the central government must step in.”