The Bangladesh police have arrested the main suspect in the killings of a gay right activist and a secular blogger, who spoke against against the radical Islamists of the country. Rashidun Nabi is the main suspect in the murders of 26-year-old law student and secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad and country’s first gay magazine editor Xulhaz Mannan, who were brutally hacked to death in last April.
A joint team of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit and Detective Branch of Police arrested Nabi from Sayyedabad area in Dhaka. The police claimed that Nabi is an active member Ansar al Islam or Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which ideologically lines up with the Al Qaeda.
“Five people, including Rashidun Nabi, took part in Samad’s killing,” said Monirul Islam, head of Dhaka police’s counter-terrorism unit.
Apart from Samad’s murder, Nabi admitted his role in the killing of Xulhaz and his theatre activist friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy. Mannan, who was the editor of ‘Roopban’ Bangladesh’s first gay magazine. He and Tonoy were hacked to death in his apartment by assailants, who had entered faking themselves as courier company officials on April 25.
Nazimuddin was hacked and shot to death on April 6 by militants. The 26-year-old law student from Jagannath University, was known for his critical posts in Facebook on religious extremism and 1971 war of liberation. He had been on the list of 84 activists prepared by radical Islamists circulated in media.
Bangaladesh has witnessed a series of gruesome attacks against secular activists, bloggers, religious minorities and foreigners, many of them attacked with machetes.
The government has launched an extensive crackdown against radical Islamist groups after the terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1. The attack had killed 22 people, including 17 foreigners, which evoked round-the-world condemnation.