IS claims responsibility; incident took place hours after the wife of a police officer was murdered
A Christian grocer was hacked to death in the north Bangladeshi district of Natore by unidentified miscreants on Sunday.
“Sunil Gomes was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village,” said Shafiqul Islam, deputy police chief of Natore district that includes Bonpara. IS claimed responsibility for the murder through its Amaq news agency, according to the SITE monitoring group, saying it was “part of a series of operations” in Bangladesh.
In April, a Hindu tailor, Nikhil Joarder (50) had been murdered in the same fashion in Tangail.
Father Bikash Hubert Rebeiro, from the Bonpara Catholic church, told AFP that Mr. Gomes, whose brother is a priest, used to work as a gardener at the church and was “known for his humility”.
The killing came just hours after the wife of a top anti-terror officer was brutally murdered in the southeastern city of Chittagong by suspected members of a banned local extremist group.
Police and eyewitnesses said three motorcycle-borne assailants attacked Mahmuda Akter (32) at around 6:45 am on Sunday while she was on her way to drop her son to a nearby school.
Mahmuda is the wife of Babul Akter, Superintendent of Police (SP) in Chittagong, who has led several successful raids on militant hideouts. Senior police officers describe the SP a “dashing officer” who had also investigated several terror-related cases as the Additional-Deputy Commissioner with the Detective Branch.
One of his major investigations had led to the busting of a hideout of banned Islamist outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and arrest of its military wing chief Md. Javed in October last year. The JMB bigwig died a day later in a grenade explosion . “Since Babul Aktar was in counter-terrorism, we suspect that militants are behind the murder of his wife,” detective branch Deputy Commissioner Moktar Ahmed told journalists.
After visiting Chittagong Medical College Hospital where the victim’s body has been kept, Chittagong city Mayor A.J.M. Nasir Uddin told reporters that by killing a police officer’s wife, “militants” have “thrown a challenge” at the people and the state. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the attack was revenge for Mr. Akter’s role in tracking down militants.
At least 10 people have been killed by suspected Islamist militants in the last 10 weeks alone. Authorities have blamed home-grown Islamists for the attacks, rejecting claims of responsibility from IS and al-Qaeda.