British father and son die after suspected poisoning on holiday in Bangladesh

·3-min read
Rafiqul Islam, in his 50s, and his son Michael Islam, 16, were found unconscious at a rented flat in the Osmani Nagar district of Sylhet. (Reach)
Rafiqul Islam, in his 50s, and his son Michael Islam, 16, were found unconscious at a rented flat in the Osmani Nagar district of Sylhet. (Reach)

A British father and son have died after a suspected poisoning during a holiday in Bangladesh.

Taxi driver Rafiqul Islam, in his 50s, and his son Michael Islam, 16, from Cardiff, were discovered unconscious in a rented flat in Osmani Nagar district, Sylhet, on Tuesday afternoon, local police said.

Rafiqul’s wife Hosne Ara Islam, 40, their daughter Samira Islam, 19, and son Sadikul Islam, 21, were also found unconscious at the property in Tajpur.

They are currently under treatment at Sylhet’s MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, with one of the children who survived understood to be in a critical condition.

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Indian policeman close to Police stick and uniform,  Indian policeman (CRPF) with bamboo sticks patrols, selective focus, Hand in hand police man view
Police believe it may have been a case of poisoning and are investigating. (Getty)

Sylhet district superintendent of police Farid Uddin said: "After discussing the overall situation with the doctors and inspecting the scene we believe this may have been a case of poisoning.

“The investigation is ongoing into whether it is poisoning or something else."

He also confirmed that close relatives of the family lived in the same building.

Speaking to local media on Tuesday, he added: “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.”

Police have confirmed the family came to Bangladesh on 12 July and moved into the flat where they were found on 18 July.

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After dinner on Monday, police said the family fell asleep in the same room.

Between 10am and 10.30am on Tuesday, their relatives tried to open the door to the flat.

They called the police when they heard no sounds inside.

Police found the door locked, broke it open, and recovered the five unconscious victims inside.

One neighbour of the family in Riverside, Cardiff, said: “We've been living near them for more than 25 years. They are a quiet family who do their own thing. I couldn't believe it, I've been getting so many phone calls. They were just a nice, neat family. They've been away for a couple of weeks."

A second neighbour added: "I'm a taxi driver as well and I've known them around 20 years. I know [Rofikul] – he's a really good guy. I found out on social media. We just thought they were going on holiday to Bangladesh."

Labour councillor for Riverside Kanaya Singh said: "Clearly this is a worrying and tragic event. Everyone I have spoken to in the community speaks very highly of the family and our thoughts are with them.

"There is also a great deal of concern because many people from Riverside go to Bangladesh on a regular basis. I hope that the authorities are able to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible."