Around two dozen masked youths attacked a group of Bangladeshi reporters with hockey sticks and batons, injuring about 10 of them, when they were resting at a hotel after covering an election rally, the journalists said on Tuesday.
The incident, which occurred late on Monday in the town of Nawabgonj about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital Dhaka, is the latest in a series of violent attacks that have marred campaigning for a national election on Dec. 30, a news agency reported.
The youths, whose identity remains unclear, also smashed hotel windows and vandalised more than a dozen vehicles belonging to media outlets or privately owned, the journalists said.
“Some of us had to take shelter inside the toilet out of fear,” Abdullah Tuhin, a journalist with a local TV channel, told Reuters. “The attackers threatened our colleagues and asked us to leave the place immediately or face serious consequences.”
Dhaka Reporters Unity, a union body, said many of its members had been “seriously injured” in the assault. Reuters could not immediately confirm the nature of the injuries.
Dhaka district’s top police official, Shah Mizan, said a police team sent to the hotel after the incident had not been able to immediately determine who the attackers were. No arrests have so far been made in the case.
Opposition parties have complained of violent attacks against their workers by ruling party activists and the arrests of candidates on what they say are trumped-up charges during the election campaign.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, which is seeking a third straight term in power, has denied accusations of trying to intimidate opposition candidates and journalists.
One opposition lawmaker, Salma Islam, whose husband owns a leading newspaper and a TV channel, said she would file a police complaint soon over the hotel attack.
“It’s unfortunate and unwanted. They also tore off my banners. We will lodge a written complaint,” said Islam, who is contesting the election as an independent after quitting her Jatiya Party, which is part of the ruling coalition.