Bangladesh police detain 2 engineers over building collapse as protest spreads

SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) - Police said they have detained for questioning two engineers involved in approving the design of an eight-storey building with garment factories that collapsed this week, killing at least 324 people.

Police said the two men, Imtemam Hossain and Alam Ali, were detained on Saturday. They did not say what role they played in approving the design of the building, which had three floors added to it illegally.

Two owners of one of the several garment factories in the building were also arrested, and the wife of the building's owner was detained in an attempt to pressure her husband to surrender to the police.

Military spokesman Shahinul Islam said 324 bodies have been recovered and 2,419 survivors accounted for since the collapse of the building on Wednesday morning.

Rescue workers continued to bring badly decomposed bodies out of the tangled mess of concrete, bricks and steel amid frenzied efforts to pull out remaining survivors.

Teams were going in from seven entry points gouged into the rubble. Every once in a while a body would be brought out to a spot where ambulances were parked. Workers furiously sprayed air-fresheners on the bodies to cover the stench, leaving the air thick with the smell of death and cheap perfume.

The bodies were kept at the nearby Adharchandra High School grounds before being handed over to families. Many people milled around at the school, waving photos of their missing loved ones.

the military spokesman said 324 bodies have been recovered and 2,419 survivors accounted for, including 19 who were pulled out on Saturday.

"We will continue our operation for more survivors as long as it is required. We are not thinking of wrapping up of our effort any time soon," he said.

Mr Subrata Sarker, a fire service official, said he saw 12 survivors in one place, of whom three were pulled out.

"There are many (survivors) still there," he told The Associated Press.

Police in riot gear formed a cordon around the site to keep away hundreds of protesters who have been venting their anger at the situation since Wednesday. The protests have spread outside Savar, a Dhaka suburb where the collapse happened.

Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and used sticks to disperse several hundred stone-throwing garment workers on Saturday in Savar, a police official said.

Clashes also erupted in other parts of Dhaka and in the south-eastern city of Chittagong where hundreds of garment workers took to the streets and vandalised vehicles. They also put up roadblocks, disrupting traffic.

Authorities shut down garment factories in Dhaka for fear of violence, which has persisted over demands that police arrest the owners of the factories and the building.

Junior Home Minister Shamsul Haque Tuku said police had arrested Bazlus Samad, managing director of New Wave Apparels Ltd., and Mahmudur Rahman Tapash, the company chairman.

He told reporters that police had also detained the wife of Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, for questioning. The top three floors of the eight-story building were illegally constructed.

Authorities are still searching for Rana, a local politician, who hasn't been seen publicly since the building collapsed.

Negligence cases have been filed against him. Police in Bangladesh often detain relatives of missing suspects as a way to pressure them to surrender.

Dhaka police superintendent Habibur Rahman said Rana was a local leader of ruling Awami League's youth front. His arrest, and that of the factory owners, was ordered by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Awami League leader.