Seven burnt to death after bus firebombed in Bangladesh

Seven burnt to death after bus firebombed in Bangladesh

Anti-government protesters firebombed a bus full of sleeping passengers in eastern Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing seven in spiralling political unrest aimed at toppling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Several passengers were also critically injured in the attack in Chuddogram town blamed on activists from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by two-time former premier Khaleda Zia.
The deaths brought the number of people killed in the month-long protests to 53 — most of them victims of firebomb attacks on buses and lorries — as opposition activists try to enforce a transport blockade.
“Seven passengers were burnt to death in the bus after the petrol bomb was thrown at 4am (2000 GMT Monday),” district police chief Tuttul Chakrabarty told AFP by phone.
“Five of the passengers are fighting for their life as 40-80 percent of their bodies were burnt. They have been shifted to a hospital in the capital,” he said.
Authorities have stepped up the pressure on 69-year-old Zia, who has been holed up in her office since January 3, in a bid to halt the violence.
Survivors of Tuesday’s attack said the bus was packed with local tourists returning overnight from the resort town of Cox’s Bazaar to the capital Dhaka.
“I woke up hearing loud cries and saw people burning in the bus. I jumped through the window and found a friend in flames. I doused the fire but his condition is critical,” one survivor told private Ekattur TV.
Up to 15 people were also slightly injured after they jumped from the vehicle’s windows, trying to escape the blaze, the police chief added.
In another attack on Tuesday, four people suffered burn injuries after a petrol bomb was thrown at a moving train outside Dhaka, police said.
Hundreds of people have been injured since the protests started, while local media say more than 850 vehicles have been torched or damaged and inter-city transport services have ground to a halt.
AFP

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