Indranil Mukherjee Agence France-Presse At least four coaches of the Benapole Express, connecting the city of Jessore to Dhaka, caught fire, a fire official said.
France Media Agency to Dhaka
January 5, 2024
Five people were killed on Friday in a train that caught fire in Bangladesh, police announced, whose chief said he suspected an act of sabotage before next Sunday's legislative elections boycotted by the opposition.
At least four coaches of the Benapole Express, connecting the city of Jessore to Dhaka, caught fire, said fire official Rakjibul Hasan.
“We found five bodies,” police official Commander Khandaker Al Moin told reporters.
According to witnesses, the train caught fire in Gopibagh, an old district of Dhaka located not far from the capital's main station, the terminus of the line.
“We suspect the fire was an act of sabotage,” police chief Anwar Hossain told AFP, without adding details.
An unnamed rescuer told private channel Somoy TV that hundreds of people rushed to rescue passengers from the burning train. “We rescued many. But the fire spread quickly,” he said.
According to Somoy TV, Indian passengers were on board the train.
In December, the police and the government blamed the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), in a previous fire on board a train which caused four dead.
The BNP had denied any involvement in the fire, claiming to be the subject of unjustified accusations to provide the government with pretexts to carry out a campaign of repression against the opposition.
The BNP and dozens of other opposition parties are boycotting the legislative elections due to take place on Sunday, saying it is a farce.
Thousands of opposition activists were arrested last year after protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is seeking a fifth term.