Firefighters try to extinguish a fire set to a passenger train ahead of the general election in Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 5, 2024. Image Credit: Reuters

Dhaka: Five people were killed in Bangladesh after a passenger train caught fire Friday, with police suspecting an arson attack during unrest ahead of national elections boycotted by the opposition.

Fire service officer Rakjibul Hasan said at least four coaches caught fire on the Benapole Express, which was arriving in the capital Dhaka from the western city of Jessore.

"We have recovered five bodies," police commander Khandaker Al Moin told reporters.

Witnesses said the train caught fire at Gopibagh, in an old part of Dhaka not far from the megacity's main rail terminal.

An unnamed rescuer told private broadcaster Somoy TV that hundreds of people had rushed to pull people out of the burning train.

"We rescued many. But the fire spread quickly," he said.