Two more countries have issued security alerts for their nationals living in Bangladesh following Monday's killing of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella inside the capital's diplomatic zone.
Switzerland and South Korea have joined the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Australia in issuing the alerts, though Dhaka insists it has taken "all-out measures" to ensure safety of foreign nationals and international organisations.
Diplomats and citizens based in Dhaka were maintaining caution in their movement in and outside the diplomatic zone. Most foreign missions, according to diplomatic sources, are discouraging fresh entry of their citizens to Bangladesh, citing security concerns.
A number of expatriates' clubs, including the American Embassy Employees' Association, remain closed since Monday, the day Tavella was gunned down by unidentified assailants on Road-90 in Gulshan.
Despite the alerts, a good number of diplomats met at a programme hosted by the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka last night.
In another development, Italian Ambassador in Dhaka Mario Palma met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday and discussed Tavella's murder. He urged the minister to ensure adequate security for the Italians in Bangladesh.
The Swiss Embassy in an updated alert late Tuesday said, "The Embassy has been informed that there is reliable information regarding a general threat from terrorism in Bangladesh. Militants may be planning to target Western interests in Bangladesh. Attacks can't be ruled out and could target places frequented by foreigners."
The embassy considers that the situation in Bangladesh for foreign nationals has changed from "moderate risk" to "elevated risk", and suggests that the Swiss citizens living in Bangladesh keep low profile as much as they can, refrain from walking and using rickshaws, avoid movement after dark, limit exposure to crowded places even inside the diplomatic zone, avoid attending events where Westerners may gather.
The South Korean Embassy in Dhaka in a notice advised all Koreans to take precautionary measures and avoid places and events attended by "many foreigners". It also asked the Korean nationals to remain alert regarding their personal security and keep their situational awareness levels high.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry has tightened security measures for its offices following Monday's attack.
DIPLOMATS GATHER DESPITE ALERTS
Though several countries have asked their nationals to limit their attendance at events where Westerners may be targeted for attacks, a number of diplomats met at a reception hosted by Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ma Mingqiang yesterday.
The programme to mark the Chinese National Day was attended by US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, British High Commissioner Robert Gibson, EU Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon, French Ambassador Sophie Aubert, Russian Ambassador Alexander A Nikolaev, and diplomats from South Korea, North Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar and Japan.
Opposition Leader Raushan Ershad, Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and some senior BNP leaders were also present there.