- Army in Bangladesh says it foiled military coup
- General blames officers with 'extreme' religious views
- Nation has a history of plots
The Bangladesh army said Thursday it foiled a military coup plot aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Brig. General Muhammad Masud Razzaq said a group of serving and retired army officers "with extreme religious views" was behind the plot.
The plot was instigated by Bangladeshis living abroad, Razzaq told reporters. One of the conspirators was "probably staying in Hong Kong," the army spokesman said.
An investigation was continuing.
Razzaq said two retired officers — Lt. Col. Ehsan Yusuf and Maj. Zakir — were arrested. Officials are looking for a retired officer, Maj. Ziaul Haq, he said.
Razzaq did not specify when the two officers were arrested.
The army said it had evidence that some 16 officers, both retired and serving, were involved in the "heinous conspiracy."
Hasina's party, the Awami League, came to power in 2009 in a landslide victory after a military-backed unelected interim government ruled the country for two years following political violence over polls in January 2007.
Just two months after Hasina took office, 74 people, including 57 army officers serving the paramilitary border force, were killed in a mutiny over pay and perks.
Hasina's government is trying more than 800 border guards on charges of killing, arson and looting during the mutiny.
Born as an independent country on December 16, 1971, Bangladesh has seen a series of military coups over the years.
Hasina's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh, was assassinated in the country's first military putsch in 1975.
An army general-turned-president, Ziaur Rahman, was assassinated in another coup in 1981. Zia's widow, Khaleda Zia, who served as prime minister for two times, is now the leader of the opposition in parliament.
A political ally of Hasina, Gen.Hussain Mohammad Ershad usurped the state power in a bloodless military coup in 1982 and ruled the country until December 1990, when he was overthrown.