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Two Men Detained Ahead of Bangladesh Elections

  • VOA News

Bangladeshi authorities say they have detained two men after raiding the premises of suspected extremists, just a few kilometers from where a leading presidential contender held a campaign rally.

Police say at least three grenades were confiscated at the premises, less than 100 kilometers outside the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh National Party leader Khaleda Zia made a campaign stop Tuesday near where the suspected extremists were detained.

Authorities have increased security ahead of the December 29th elections, following threats to both Zia and her main rival, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Monday's elections are intended to restore democracy after more than two years of military-backed emergency rule. Twenty-five-hundred foreign observers will be monitoring the polls for any irregularities.

U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, James Moriarty, told VOA that any candidate must focus on three priorities -- restoring democracy, developing the nation's economy and fighting terrorism.

Bangladesh has been under emergency rule since January of 2007, when the military intervened to stop months of violence between the two main political parties. Those same two parties -- the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League -- are seen as the frontrunners in the upcoming poll.

More on this from our Dhaka stringer, Amir Khasru.

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