Bangladeshi Islamist killed in shoot-out: police

An Islamist extremist in custody for allegedly stabbing two police officers was killed in a shoot-out Thursday when gunmen attacked the van he was travelling in, police said.

Amijul Islam, 25, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of stabbing and wounding two police officers.

Police said the attack occurred when they took Amijul to the northern town of Sherpur, an extremist hub, to conduct a series of raids.

“Extremists attacked our van and he was shot. He died in a hospital,” local police chief Khan Mohammad Erfan told AFP.

Rights groups have raised doubts about police accounts of such incidents in the past, saying many were staged.

Bangladeshi security forces have launched a nationwide crackdown on Islamist extremist groups since a deadly attack on a Dhaka cafe last year, killing around 50 suspected militants.

Bangladesh has suffered a spate of attacks on secular activists, foreigners and religious minorities in recent years.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for several of the attacks, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government has pinned the blame on local extremists.

District police chief Mohammad Asaduzzaman said Amijul was a regional commander of the banned Islamist militant outfit Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and a “notorious” extremist.

“He was trying to regroup the JMB in the northern region after Tamim Chowdhury’s death,” Asaduzzaman told AFP, referring to a Canadian of Bangladeshi origin said to have been the mastermind of the Dhaka cafe attack.


© Agence France-Presse