Ja­panese na­tional shot dead in Bangladesh days af­ter ‘IS at­tack’

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

A Ja­panese citizen was shot dead by gun­men in a north­ern Bangladesh town on Satur­day, po­lice said, days af­ter an Ital­ian aid worker was mur­dered in an at­tack claimed by the Is­lamic State group.

Po­lice said the vic­tim, whom they named as Hoshi Ku­nio, aged 66, was rid­ing in a rick­shaw when he was shot dead in Kau­nia town in Rang­pur dis­trict at about 10:30 a.m. lo­cal time (0430 GMT).

“He was trav­el­ing to the town from Rang­pur city, where he had been liv­ing for a while, on a cy­cle rick­shaw when his ve­hi­cle was stopped by three men rid­ing on a mo­tor­cy­cle,” deputy po­lice chief of Rang­pur, Sai­fur Rah­man, told AFP.

The Bangladesh gov­ern­ment sought to al­lay con­cerns over the safety of for­eign na­tion­als in the coun­try af­ter the sec­ond killing in a week, say­ing it was tak­ing both mur­ders “very se­ri­ously.”

“Who­ever is in­volved with the killings will be iden­ti­fied and brought to book,” Asaduz­za­man Khan Ka­mal, the Home Min­is­ter, told re­porters.

Ku­nio was a fre­quent visi­tor to Bangladesh and worked on a farm­ing pro­ject in Rang­pur, about 300 kilo­me­ters (180 miles) north of the cap­i­tal Dhaka, po­lice said.

“Two of the as­sailants shot him twice in the chest with pis­tols while the other waited with the mo­tor­bike ready to flee,” lo­cal po­lice chief Rezaul Karim said, adding four peo­ple had been in­ter­ro­gated over the mur­der but none had been ar­rested.

Ku­nio’s land­lord Jakaria Bala told Ben­gali daily Prothom Alo that the vic­tim had leased a piece of land in a vil­lage near the Kau­nia town to grow grass for cat­tle.

A Ja­panese em­bassy spokesman in Dhaka told AFP that they were seek­ing more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the de­ceased.

“Ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tion we got from the law en­force­ment agen­cies, it ap­pears to in­di­cate that he was a Ja­panese who is in his 60s,” Takeshi Mat­sunaga told AFP.

His body was taken to Rang­pur Med­i­cal Col­lege morgue. Po­lice have not yet iden­ti­fied any mo­tive for the mur­der.

The at­tack came less than a week af­ter an Ital­ian aid worker was shot dead near the cap­i­tal’s diplo­matic zone.

The gov­ern­ment has sought to calm es­ca­lat­ing se­cu­rity fears in the coun­try af­ter the at­tack was claimed by the Is­lamic State group, de­scrib­ing it as an “iso­lated in­ci­dent.”

In­ter­na­tional schools closed tem­po­rar­ily and Western em­bassies re­stricted their diplo­mats’ move­ments, while Aus­tralia’s cricket team can­celled a planned tour of the coun­try over se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Bangladesh prides it­self on be­ing a mainly mod­er­ate Mus­lim coun­try. But the grue­some killings of a se­ries of athe­ist blog­gers this year have rocked the na­tion and sparked a crack­down on lo­cal hard-line Is­lamist groups.

AP

In this im­age cap­tured from video, in­ves­ti­ga­tors work at the site where Ja­panese na­tional Ku­nio Hoshi was shot and killed in Mahi­ganj vil­lage in Rang­pur dis­trict, Bangladesh, Satur­day, Oct. 3.

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