Bangladesh police ‘kill militant behind murders’ of bloggers and gay journalist
Police in Bangladesh say they have killed a militant who was allegedly behind the brutal murder of a gay journalist.
Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine Roopban, was hacked to death alongside friend Mahbub Tonoy in April. It was one in a string of brutal murders.
An affiliate of terrorist group Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the murder and posted a gory video appearing to show the man’s body.
Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina has attracted criticism for her lacklustre response – allegedly comparing Mr Mannan to a pornographer – and attempting to shift blame to the country’s opposition party.
The country’s police have now shot dead a militant they claim was behind some of the attacks in an armed confrontation.
According to local media, police identified the dead militant as ‘Sharif’, who allegedly also used the aliases Sakib, Saleh, Arif and Hadi.
Police officer Mashrukur Rahman Khaled told BDNews that the militant was responsible for a string of attacks on secularists, saying: “He had knowledge on each and every killing of bloggers, writers and online activists.”
The man was previously named as a suspect in the murder of Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy.
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Western media has not yet verified the claim. Critics have accused Bangladesh of playing down the scale of the problem it faces, and refusing to admit terrorists operate within the country.
Bangladesh previously claimed to have arrested a militant over the same attacks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry previously urged PM Hasina to ensure the incidents are thoroughly investigated. Mr Mannan had previously worked at the US embassy.
The US State Department confirmed: “Secretary Kerry called Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina on April 28 to offer U.S. support for the investigation into the attack that killed human rights advocate and U.S. Embassy employee Xulhas Mannan, along with Tonmoi Mahbub, earlier this week.
“The Secretary also condemned other incidents in a recent spate of violence.
“The Secretary urged Prime Minister Hasina to ensure a thorough investigation of all of these incidents, and to redouble law enforcement efforts to prevent future attacks and protect those who are at risk.”