November 6, 2015: Airport assailant flummoxes authorities in Bangladesh

On November 6, 2015 a young man killed one member of the Ansar enforcement body and wounded three others at Dhaka’s airport

DHAKA, BANGLADESH – Are general suspicions enough to link an act of violence to a known terrorist group?

I am going to assume that most of you have seen, or have at least heard of, the great 1942 film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. This WWII tale of espionage and the German occupation of France is a classic, perhaps one of the best films of all time.

In the event you have not seen it I won’t spoil the ending. I will, however, make a short reference to it to illustrate what I am talking about here. After someone is shot, the local police officer announces to his assistant: “Round up the usual suspects.” It is a great line.

But what if the ‘usual suspects‘ is not possible? Sometimes in the wake of a terrorist attack the perpetrators may not be who we think they should be. For the purposes of today’s incident let’s take Bangladesh.

On this day in 2015

A young man killed one member of the Ansar, a paramilitary auxiliary force responsible for the preservation of internal security and law enforcement in Bangladesh, and wounded three others at Dhaka’s airport.

Investigations failed to determine the assailant’s identity, despite his capture, or his motive. There are lots of violent extremist actors in the South Asian nation, but he did not seem to fit any of these groups. Authorities were flummoxed.

He kept mum whenever he was asked to give his father’s name or address. He is giving confusing information. 

Police spokesperson

The lesson? We do not always succeed in pinning the responsibility for what sure looks like a terrorist attack, despite our best efforts. Life ain’t Hollywood folks!

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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