DHAKA, March 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The U.S. Embassy here Thursday agreed with Bangladeshi government's sentiment that it is "unfortunate" that the U.S. Peace Corps had to suspend operations in Bangladesh due to concerns about security of the volunteers, private news agency UNB reported Thursday.
"I agree that it's unfortunate that the Peace Corps had to suspend operations in Bangladesh due to concerns about security of the volunteers," a U.S. Embassy spokesman was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, all the 71 Peace Corps volunteers left Dhaka for the United States. They were engaged in primary activities like English language teaching and training in schools and youth centers, hospitals and non-government organizations. Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin said they were surprised to hear that the U.S. Peace Corps had suspended its program in Bangladesh, saying "Such a decision is unfortunate and ill-advised."
Hemayetuddin said no foreign national has so far been targeted by militants and the government has provided adequate security measures for the citizens of other countries.
On Wednesday, the United States suspended indefinitely its peace corps activities in the country due to possibility of terrorist attempts on the peace corps volunteers as retaliation for the capture of five top leaders of the banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
"Peace Corps made this decision following a careful assessment of Bangladesh's prevailing security environment, and did not base its conclusions on any single threat or incident," a release of the U.S. Embassy said.
It, however, said "The security situation in Bangladesh will be periodically reviewed to determine whether to end or continue the suspension."
The U.S. spokesman could not say when the Peace Corps program would resume its operation in Bangladesh. Last time the Peace Corps suspended its operation in October 2001 and resumed its operation in August 2002 after 10 months later.
JMB chief Abdur Rahman and second-in-command Bangla Bhai were separately arrested by security forces on March 2 and 6. They are blamed for a series of bomb blasts and suicide attacks that killed 28 people and injured hundreds in Bangladesh since Aug. 17 last year. Enditem