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US State Department Warns of Terrorist Threat on Garment Buyers in Bangladesh

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning for Bangladesh because of looming terrorist threats—some that specifically target garment buyers.

In a statement Thursday, the State Department urged U.S. citizens to consider the risks of traveling to and throughout the country. U.S. government personnel working in the country can’t even keep their children with them there any longer.

But what’s perhaps of most critical concern for the apparel industry is that, for the first time, terrorists have called out garment buyers as a target.

Da’esh (also known is IS, ISIL or ISIS) and Al Qaeda in October threatened to target “expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, and sports teams” in the most “secured zones” in Bangladesh, according to the State Department.

And since Da’esh and Al Qaeda took credit for the July 1, 2016 terrorist attack in a Dhaka restaurant that killed more than 20 people, the threats aren’t being taken lightly. The terrorists said at the time that the intent was to kill foreigners.

Following the attack, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expressed concern that the attacks would keep foreigners away.

“The impact of the attack will be very damaging for the industry,” BGMEA senior vice president Faruque Hassan said at the time. “We are now very worried.”

BGMEA hasn’t issued a statement on the current U.S. travel warning, but the worry will likely be heightened now that garment buyers have been named as targets.

The State Department said U.S. citizens who do end up traveling to the country, or who are already there, should take stringent security measures and stay alert to local security developments. At present, U.S. government personnel aren’t allowed to visit public establishments or places in Bangladesh, they can’t travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw or anything else otherwise uncovered, and they must not attend any large gatherings. Non-government U.S. citizens should also heed the warnings.