A DEVELOPMENT Organisation in Bangladesh suffered a fire bomb attack when it was set upon by a group of 200-300 youths during recent rioting in Dhaka. The violence, at the Gonoshayastha Kendra (GK) People's Health Centre, wreaked an estimated f150,000 damage, less than 30 per cent of which can be recovered from insurance.
The rioters surrounded the office late last month and tossed Molotov-cocktails inside before breaking the gate and pouring petrol over vehicles and setting light to them. A store was similarly destroyed but an attack on the main building, where nine staff were hiding, was thwarted by the arrival of the police, army and fire brigade.
"The GK workers would have been burnt alive if the police, defence regiment and fire brigade had been another 10 minutes," said Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder and Chief Executive of GK.
Dr Zafrullah says the attack may have been carried out because of antipathy to the government's proposed health policy of which he is one of the authors. GK's best known initiative is setting up a pharmaceuticals factory designed to improve the health service and reduce dependence on multi-national drug companies.
CAFOD provided £30,000 last year to help rebuild the factory after it was damaged by two years of floods.