Cardiff dad and son poisoned in Bangladesh, police say

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Media caption,

Rafiqul Islam and his son died after being poisoned, police say

A father and son from Cardiff have died while three other family members are in intensive care after being poisoned in Bangladesh, police have said.

The family were staying in a flat near the north-eastern city of Sylhet.

Police officers broke into the building on Tuesday morning after relatives raised the alarm.

Rafiqul Islam, 51, and his son Mahiqul, 16, died on their way to hospital while his wife and two other children are being treated.

The family, from the Riverside area of the city, were on a two-month visit to the country and were all found unconscious.

Supt Farid Uddin said the condition of those in hospital - Husnara, 45 and Samira, 20, were critical, while eldest son Sadiqul, 24, was receiving treatment.

Image source, Family photo
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Police in Bangladesh believe Rafiqul Islam and his family were poisoned

"After discussing the overall situation with the doctors and inspecting the scene, we believe this may have been a case of poisoning," he said.

"The other people in the building are close relatives of the victims. We questioned them. At the moment, we believe they fell asleep after dinner last night.

"This must be investigated further. How were they poisoned? How did they die? We will be able to confirm after an investigation."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The family was staying near Sylhet in north-east Bangladesh

He said relatives called police after they heard no sound coming from the flat.

Officers broke in and recovered the five unconscious victims inside.

Supt Uddin added: "After they were taken to the hospital, the father and the youngest son were declared dead.

"The mother and daughter are in critical condition. They have been transferred to the ICU. The other brother, Sadiqul, is receiving treatment."

Other family members have flown out to Bangladesh.

Supt Uddin said all five family members were sleeping in the same room on Monday night and relatives raised the alarm at about 10:00 local time when they failed to wake up.

At first it was thought to be food poisoning, but it is now being investigated by police.

Post-mortem examinations have been carried out and been sent to Dhaka. The results could take five days.

Mr Islam's brother-in-law Abdul Mumin Khan, who found out the news on Tuesday morning, said: "I didn't know what to do or what to say.

"Everyone is very sad. Everybody is crying. My wife, all the time, is crying. I am crying as well.

"I can't believe this has happened. This person is very friendly, a very nice guy. His son is very sweet and friendly. Everyone likes him and he likes everyone. His son is a very, very nice boy."

He said they were waiting to hear what the police had to say.

"I was talking with my wife and she was saying, 'I don't believe that he is dead'. But, the reality (is) he is dead," Mr Khan said.

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Muhibur Islam said there was disbelief in the community

Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, assistant secretary of the Bangladeshi Association, Cardiff, said: "Everybody is so shocked.

"It's summer holidays and a lot of British-Bangladeshi people are in Bangladesh right now, especially in Sylhet, Osmani Nagar and Tajpur, the place where this incident happened.

"It will never be forgotten by us. We are praying for his soul."

Muhibur Islam, from Jalalia Mosque and Islamic education centre, added: "The whole community itself is in shock of a well-known family, very well known in the area over the years.

"It's just disbelief. Absolute disbelief, that's what it is."

General secretary of Bangladesh Association Cardiff, Mohammed Haroon, said he used to work with Mr Islam, who was a taxi driver and a member of badminton and football teams in the city.

He said: "He was a very nice person, very helpful person who was at the mosque all the time and constantly working with the community.

"It's very sad but I do believe the older son is quite well now, he's up and talking. His daughter is still critical and his wife is not out of danger yet."

The Foreign Office 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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