Volunteers take part in a security briefing and training Nov. 24 at Suhrawardy Udyan Park in Dhaka, the venue for the papal Mass Dec. 1. (Photo Stephan Uttom/ucanews.com)
Bangladesh is enforcing the highest security level for the upcoming trip of Pope Francis to the Muslim-majority nation, law enforcement officials say.
The pope will be in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka Nov. 30—Dec. 2.
"We will provide the highest state security during the pope's visit. All the venues of the pope's events will be under a 'foolproof' security cordon. There will be no comprise regarding the security of Pope Francis," Ehsanul Ferdous, assistant police commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told ucanews.com.
Local media reported that thousands of police, paramilitary and detectives will be deployed in the capital during the papal visit.
"We cannot give the exact number, but it should be more than 8,000 from all law enforcement agencies. Besides that, there will be hundreds of plainclothes police and intelligence officers covering all the venues," the official added.
Bangladesh has seen a lethal rise of radicalism in recent years. Police officials said they would be extremely vigilant on militants during the pope's visit.
"Pope Francis is a global leader and his coming is a matter of great honor for us. So, we are very serious about his security. During his visit police will intently monitor militancy, conduct block raids from time to time and remain watchful about any radical group trying to spread hate," Inspector General of Police, A.K.M. Shadidul Hoque told DMP News, Dhaka Police news portal on Nov. 22.
The Catholic Church's security and volunteer committee for the papal visit has trained 650 volunteers to help at papal events, said Nirmol Rozario, the committee convener.
"We have had a series of meetings with government agencies and they have ensured and guided us on security affairs. Our volunteers will assist law enforcers to maintain security and both parties are determined on maximum security measure during Pope's trip," Rozario told ucanews.com.
Pope Francis arrives in Dhaka Nov. 30 after departing Yangon, Myanmar. In the evening, he will pay a courtesy visit to President Abdul Hamid and give a speech to members of the diplomatic corps and civil society at the Presidential Palace.
The pontiff on Dec. 1 will celebrate Mass for more than 100,000 people at Suhrawardy Udyan in Ramna, where he will ordain 16 deacons to the priesthood.
He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Vatican embassy later in the day and afterwards attend an interfaith and ecumenical gathering.
On Dec. 2 he will call at a home for the destitute run by the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation that St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta founded and later meet with young people at Notre Dame College before departing for Rome in the late afternoon.
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