Bomb scare rattles West Indies junior cricketers in Bangladesh

A bomb exploded outside the hotel where West Indies' U19 squad were staying during their one-day series with Bangladesh U19 on Sunday in Chittagong, one of the cities set to host World Twenty20 matches in 2014.

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A bomb exploded outside a hotel in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong where a visiting junior West Indies cricket team was staying, forcing the postponement of a match Sunday, officials said.

Police said the small device went off during a nationwide strike on Saturday evening outside Hotel Agrabad in Bangladesh’s second largest city where the visiting under-19 national team were staying.

“No one was injured. And we’ve convinced the West Indies team that the situation would be fine and there is nothing to be panicked about,” local police chief Motiul Islam told AFP.

The second one-day match between the West Indies Under-19 and Bangladesh U-19 was postponed and would now be held at Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Monday, he added.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials held a series of meetings with the visitors Sunday morning after they refused to continue the tour following the explosion.

“We’ve assured them of stepped-up security and they are now convinced,” BCB director Akram Khan told AFP.

In a statement, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said the visitors were “not targeted” and “not in any immediate danger”.

“The team gathered shortly after the incident and are safe at their team hotel and have been afforded additional security protection,” the WICB said in the statement.

The visitors are scheduled to play seven one-day matches with the hosts already winning the first tie.

The explosion came during a nationwide transport blockade called by the country’s 18-party opposition alliance, which is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and polls under a neutral government.

At least 70 people have died in the violence triggered by the protests since late October. They include several people hit by small bombs.

Crippling blockade and strikes have paralysed much of the country, forcing suspension of bus, lorry, ferry and train services.