NEW DELHI -- Five people were killed Monday in Bangladesh as police and protesters clashed anew over the execution of a senior opposition leader.
The deaths reportedly happened overnight in southeastern district of Satkhira. Police said demonstrators from the Jamaat-e-Islami party, some wielding homemade bombs, attacked security officials.
The clash was the latest violence since Abdul Quader Molla, a top figure in the opposition party, was hanged last week for crimes against humanity dating back to the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
Since the execution, about 25 people have been killed in street violence and clashes with authorities.
Molla was the first person to be convicted of war crimes and sent to the gallows -- South Asia’s preferred form of execution -- since the country gained independence in 1971.
The government, led by the Awami League party, has held war crimes trials in keeping with a pledge it made during the 2008 election. However, some international rights groups have criticized the trials, arguing that they are politically motivated and haven’t met international legal standards, charges the government has disputed.
Molla, 65, was dubbed the “Butcher of Mirpur,” a reference to a suburb in the capital of Dhaka where he reportedly led local pro-Pakistani militia in killing dozens of people, including women and children. He was one of five leaders sentenced to death by the Bangladesh government's war crimes tribunal, which the country's opposition says is on a hunt to wipe out its leadership.
Monday’s deaths followed the reported killing of at least 13 people in similar protests over the weekend. Police said they were forced to open fire from late Saturday and into Sunday after Islamist protesters set houses on fire and engaged authorities in pitched street battles.
Molla's execution has heightened tensions in the impoverished, politically polarized South Asian nation. The country has seen a rise in violence in advance of divisive elections scheduled for next month.