Bangladesh ar­rests sus­pect in sec­u­lar ac­tivist mur­ders

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

DHAKA: Bangladesh po­lice said yes­ter­day they have ar­rested the main sus­pect in the mur­ders of a gay ac­tivist and a sec­u­lar blog­ger who wrote against rad­i­cal Is­lam. They say Rashidun Nabi is the main sus­pect in the mur­der of 26-year-old law stu­dent and blog­ger Naz­imud­din Sa­mad and gay ac­tivist Xul­haz Man­nan, who were bru­tally hacked to death in April. Bangladesh has seen a spate of grue­some at­tacks on sec­u­lar ac­tivists, re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, blog­gers, gay rights ac­tivists and for­eign­ers, many of whom have been hacked to death with ma­chetes.

Counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cers said they de­tained Nabi at a bus sta­tion in the cap­i­tal Dhaka, al­leg­ing he was the ring­leader in Sa­mad’s killing. “Five peo­ple in­clud­ing Rashidun Nabi took part in Sa­mad’s killing,” said Monirul Is­lam, head of Dhaka po­lice’s counter-ter­ror­ism unit. “They all car­ried sharp weapons and one car­ried a firearm. They hacked Naz­imud­din with the sharp weapons and later shot him when peo­ple started to gather around,” he told re­porters.

Dhaka po­lice spokesman Ma­sudur Rah­man said Nabi was also a sus­pect in Man­nan’s mur­der, and in an at­tack on pub­lisher Ahme­dur Rashid Tu­tul. A po­lice state­ment said Nabi was a mem­ber of An­sar al-Is­lam, also known as An­sarul­lah Bangla Team, which pur­ports to be the Bangladesh branch of Al Qaeda in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent. An­sar is one of two home­grown ex­trem­ist out­fits ac­cused in the re­cent wave of mur­ders, and had claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for Sa­mad’s killing. Nabi’s ar­rest was an­nounced hours after Bangladesh ex­e­cuted a mil­i­tant leader of the out­lawed Ja­mayetul Mu­jahideen Bangladesh (JMB) over a 2005 blast that killed two judges.

The gov­ern­ment has blamed JMB for a deadly July 1 at­tack in an up­mar­ket Dhaka cafe where 22 peo­ple, mostly for­eign­ers, were killed by sus­pected mil­i­tants.

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