Bangladesh buries cafe attackers after months

 Police officers guarding a checkpoint in Dhaka, in a street leading to the entrance of a restaurant where a shooting happened, on July 5, 2016.
Police officers guarding a checkpoint in Dhaka, in a street leading to the entrance of a restaurant where a shooting happened, on July 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA (AFP) - A Bangladeshi charity on Thursday (Sept 22) buried the five Islamist extremists behind July's devastating attack on a Dhaka cafe after their families refused to take the bodies, police said.

The five shot and hacked to death 20 foreign hostages at the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1 in Dhaka's Gulshan neighbourhood - an attack claimed by the self-styled Islamic State group.

Military commandos brought the hostage crisis to a bloody end the next morning after they stormed the compound and gunned down the extremists.

The military handed over the bodies of the five attackers and their alleged associate to the police on Thursday after no relatives came to claim the bodies for nearly three months.

"We gave the six bodies to Dhaka Metropolitan Police. Since their death no one came to us to take the bodies," military spokesman Colonel Rashidul Hasan told AFP.

Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman said they handed over the bodies to the Anjuman-e-Mufidul Islam, a Muslim charity which collects and buries unidentified bodies according to their religious rites.

"They buried the bodies in a Dhaka graveyard," he told AFP. "How long can we keep the bodies in the mortuary?"

The father of one of the attackers told AFP he had disowned his son after he learnt about the attack. He said he was too "ashamed" to be the father of an extremist.

Local media reported that other families were reluctant to take the bodies as they did not want to be seen as sympathic towards their children.

Since the attack Bangladeshi security forces have shot dead at least 28 suspected Islamist extremists in a massive crackdown.

Police have said a local Islamist extremist outfit, led by a Canadian citizen of Bangladesh origin, was responsible for the cafe carnage, rejecting IS's claim that its fighters carried out the attack.