Former Bangladesh dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad in suicide threat
Bangladesh's former military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad threatened to kill himself yesterday when security forces besieged his home after his decision to boycott next month's elections.
"I have loaded four pistols and I've told the government that if they play any tricks with me, I will kill myself," Ershad said during a television interview conducted inside his home.
"I will die before the RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) or the police can lay a finger on me," he said, before making a trigger-pulling gesture towards his head.
Ershad, 83, said on Tuesday he would not take part in the January 5 polls, further undermining the credibility of a contest also being boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies.
Large numbers of security forces then gathered on Wednesday outside his home in the upmarket Baridhara neighbourhood of the capital Dhaka, fuelling predictions the general was about to be arrested.
However, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Lutful Kabir said that officers were deployed in the neighbourhood "to enhance security" around foreign embassies.
Despite the boycotts by Ershad's Jatiya party and the BNP, as well as widespread political violence, the ruling Awami League is so far insisting the elections will go ahead as scheduled.
There have been widespread clashes between police and opposition supporters, which have claimed the lives of at least 67 people in the last six weeks.