Bangladesh recovers arms, ammunition near capital

Police in Bangladesh recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition near the capital and were questioning three people, officials said Friday.

Police official Faruk Hossain said 62 Chinese-made machine guns, two rocket launchers, 40 magazines and grenades were found in a canal at Rupganj, just outside Dhaka, in an overnight raid.

He said three people have been arrested but their identities were not immediately clear.

Bangladesh's police chief Shahidul Hoque said at the scene that they suspected the arms and ammunition were brought for "sabotage" but he would not elaborate.

"Some quarters want to destabilize the country, they want to thwart the development," he said.

Hossain said they conducted the operation based on information from a man who had been arrested earlier. Divers continued their search of the canal where most of the weapons were found submerged.

It is not immediately clear whether the weapons are linked to any Islamist militant groups that have waged a violent campaign in the Muslim-majority nation. Bangladesh has experienced a rise in militant attacks in recent years with atheist bloggers and writers, members of minority groups and foreigners targeted and killed.

In a major attack in July last year, 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, were killed in a restaurant in Dhaka. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility but authorities rejected it saying the local group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh was behind it.

Since then, security officials have killed about 50 suspected militants, including top commanders.