No Australian autographs on Bangladesh tour

Published: Monday, April 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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DHAKA (AFP):Australia's cricketers will be protected from autograph-hunters by tight security when the world champions undertake their maiden Test tour of Bangladesh this week, officials said.

"Unlike other tours, we will have extra security for the Australian cricketers," Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Mahmudur Rahman told AFP on Monday.

"Players will be protected from autograph hunters and no one will be allowed to have undue access to them."

Australia, currently playing in South Africa, will fly to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Thursday for the three-week tour that includes two Tests and three One-day internationals.

A security team of Cricket Australia visited Bangladesh last month and met police and Home Ministry officials.

The first Test begins in Falullah on Sunday and the second Test will be played in Chittagong from April 16-20.

Chittagong will host the first One-dayer on April 23, while Falullah will hold the last two games on April 26 and 28.

Security has been stepped up in sensitive areas of Dhaka, including the diplomatic enclave, since August last year when the country was rocked by 434 synchronized blasts allegedly carried out by a banned Islamic militant group.

Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has been blamed for a number of subsequent bomb attacks nationwide, many of them targeting the judiciary, as part of a bloody campaign to overturn the country's existing legal system.

At least 28 people have died in the blasts since last August, including four suicide bombers.

Although police have arrested five of the group's senior leaders, some countries have warned their citizens against travelling to Bangladesh as they suspect that JMB members might target foreign visitors.

Last month the United States suspended all Peace Corps activities in the country fearing reprisals from JMB remnants.

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