Following the terrorist attack in an upscale Dhaka cafe frequented by expats, Japanese firms are calling for a review of security measures for their nationals working overseas.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the terrorist attack in Dhaka that killed seven Japanese is "unforgivable terrorism".
"It was a matter of the greatest regret. It’s unforgivable terrorism. I feel strong resentment," Abe told reporters on Sunday morning.
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"We’ll continue to exert our utmost efforts to ensure that Japanese nationals living here and abroad are safe. We’ll coordinate with the international community to eliminate terrorism.”Following the terrorist attack, Japanese firms with employees in Bangladesh have called for a review of internal security measures, The Japan News reports.
Gunmen killed 20 hostages and two police officers late Friday and early Saturday at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the Gulshan district, in the city's diplomatic enclave, before authorities raided the restaurant and ended the standoff.
Among those killed were Italians, Japanese, Indian, Bangladeshi and an American.
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“An employee who died in the terrorist attack was a veteran engineer, who was a precious staff member of our company. I’m very sorry and feel resentment,” Eiji Yonezawa, president of Oriental Consultants Global Co., whose three employees were among those killed.
“We had told them to take care and pay attention to their safety by refraining from going outside unless necessary. However, in the face of such an outcome, I think it’s necessary to review our safety measures,” Yonezawa said as reported by The Japan News.
Japanese companies with business operations in Bangladesh have been confirming the safety of their employees and collecting information about the Dhaka terrorist attack.
The Japan News notes that enhancing crisis management capabilities has become a pressing need for Japanese companies, with an executive of a major trading house saying, “[Bangladesh] has been one of the countries that require the maximum level of security and safety measures.”
Major textile maker Toray Industries, Inc. jointly operates a factory in the suburbs of Dhaka. It has prohibited all employees, Japanese and otherwise, from going out, even for sales activities. Meanwhile, Itochu Corp. has cancelled business trips for two employees who had planned to visit Bangladesh from Sunday.
The Bangladeshi government has designated eight special economic zones, or export processing zones, in which preferential treatment is given to overseas companies in terms of tax systems and business procedures. A number of Japanese companies operate their factories in these areas.
“The special zones are protected by armed police and their security is ensured,” said Kiminobu Hiraishi, president of apparel company Maruhisa Co. in Tokushima Prefecture.
Saved by the Quran
The Daily Star reports that militants asked some of the hostages to recite from the Quran to confirm whether they are Muslims. Those who could were spared, and the others who couldn't were brutally hacked to death on Friday night, the newspaper quotes the father of one of the hostages.
They gave the Muslim hostages food, said Rezaul Karim, the father of Hasnat Karim who was held hostage at the Spanish restaurant in the diplomatic zone for around 12 hours.
Meanwhile, security experts said strong intelligence gathering, professionalism of law enforcers and thwarting of the ideological roots of militants could prevent future militant attacks.
They also suggested uniting people irrespective of cast, creed and political affiliation against militancy and creating awareness among people.
Security analysts also advocated stopping the political mudslinging and blame game after such incidents and instead going into facts and finding the real perpetrators.
There have been a number of targeted killings over the last two years but after each of them, there had been political mudslinging and blame games, said former inspector general of police Nur Mohammad.
Neutral investigation should be carried out after every incident and the reason for the attack and the people behind them should be unearthed, he told The Daily Star.
The former police boss said the attack in Gulshan, a highly secure neighbourhood, testifies that it was well planned.
He emphasised the need for creating awareness against militancy in schools, colleges, universities, madrasas and mosques.
Malaysia's The Star reports that one of the gumen, Nibras Islam, came from a wealthy family and had a penchant for Bollywood.
He also enjoyed a wide following of friends at a private university in Malaysia where he studied commerce after arriving from Dhaka in 2012.
No one could have guessed that the Bangladeshi, in his early 20s, would be brainwashed into the blood-thirsty terrorist who helped attack the Dhaka cafe where 20 hostages were brutally killed on Saturday, The Star notes.
Although the authorities have not officially released the names of the seven attackers, Bangladeshi newspapers The Daily Star and Dhaka Tribune confirmed that he was one of the assailants.
Nibras was initially identified by social media users.
Six of the seven attackers were shot dead and a photo, believed to be of Nibras’ bloodied body on the ground, was widely circulated.
Also, terrorist groups released mugshots of the attackers, which included that of Nibras.
“It’s definitely him,” said a fellow Bangladeshi who knew the youth, on social media.
He said he never expected Nibras to end up like this because he did not seem to be interested in politics, was not outwardly religious and was “not the violent type”.
Nibras is believed to have studied in an English-medium school in Dhaka and later enrolled at an expensive private university in Bangladesh before coming to study in Malaysia.
-- With reports from the Japan News. The Daily Star and The Star