'Poisoning' probe launched as Brit father and son found dead in Bangladesh

27 July 2022, 16:11 | Updated: 27 July 2022, 19:22

Two Brits have died and three more are in intensive care in Bangladesh
Two Brits have died and three more are in intensive care in Bangladesh. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Two Brits have died and three more are in intensive care in Bangladesh as police say they are investigating a suspected poisoning.

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It is understood father Rofikul Islam, 51, and his son Mahiqul, 16, were found dead in a flat near the city of Sylhet after relatives raised the alarm.

Both died on their way to hospital, and his wife, eldest son and daughter continue to receive treatment at the Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College and Hospital (SOMCH).

Husnara, 45 and Samira, 20, remain in a critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU) while Sadiqul, 24, is said to be doing well.

The family from Cardiff were on a two-month visit to the country, according to local police.

District Superintendent Farid Uddin said: "How were they poisoned? How did they die? We will be able to confirm after an investigation.

"But, at first glance, it looks like murder using poison."

Read more: British-Iranian prisoner Morad Tahbaz released on furlough and electronically tagged

Police told local media that all five family members were sleeping in the same room on Monday night and police were called to the property after extended family members raised the alarm when they failed to wake up on Tuesday morning.

DS Uddin also told WalesOnline: "After discussing the overall situation with the doctors and inspecting the scene we believe this may have been a case of poisoning. The investigation is ongoing into whether it is poisoning or something else."

Cardiff Labour councillor for Riverside Kanaya Singh told WalesOnline: "Clearly this is a worrying and tragic event. Everyone I have spoken to in the community speaks very highly of the family and our thoughts are with them.

"There is also a great deal of concern because many people from Riverside go to Bangladesh on a regular basis. I hope that the authorities are able to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible."

Authorities first thought the family had been struck with food poisoning but have since launched a police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

Post mortem examinations have conducted and the results will be received within five days.

Family members including Mr Islam's mother, brother and sister have flown to Bangladesh, according to a family friend. Members of the community say they are in "complete shock" over the tragedy.

Muhibur Islam, from Jalalia Mosque and Islamic education centre, described Mr Islam as "a well-loved and well respected member of the community".

"It's been a complete shock, it still hasn't sunk in for everyone.

"Most of us are now praying the remaining members of the family pull through this.

"All are thoughts are on them surviving.

"This is such an awful tragedy and we're in utter disbelief.

"We ask that everyone pray for the family," he added.

Mohammed Haroon, general secretary of the Bangladesh Association Cardiff, said he used to work with Mr Islam, who was a taxi driver in Cardiff, and said: "He was a very nice person, very helpful person who was at the mosque all the time and constantly working with the community."

Mr Haroon said Mr Islam was a member of their local badminton and football teams.

"It's very sad.

"But I do believe the older son is quite well now, he's up and talking.

"His (Mr Islam's) daughter is still critical and his wife is not out of danger yet."

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: "We are providing consular assistance to a British family following an incident in Bangladesh and are in contact with the local authorities."

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