Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Opposition accused of aid worker’s murder

AFP, DHAKA

A senior Bangladeshi minister yesterday accused a main opposition party official of ordering an Italian aid worker’s murder as part of a plot to destabilize the government.

Bangladeshi Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said police are hunting for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) official M.A. Quayum for allegedly orchestrating the deadly shooting of Cesare Tavella in Dhaka last month.

Police on Monday said four people had been arrested, three of whom they said had admitted carrying out the Sept. 28 contract killing on orders of a so-called “big brother.”

“Quayum is the big brother,” Kamal told reporters.

Quayum, who is believed to have fled the nation, is a mid-ranking BNP official and a former Dhaka councilor. Kamal said police have “conclusive evidence” Quayum ordered the killing as part of a “conspiracy” to trigger anarchy and pile pressure on the government, although he did not elaborate.

The killing near Dhaka’s diplomatic zone was the first of a series of attacks to be claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group and was followed days later by the gunning down of a Japanese farmer in northern Bangladesh.

A weekend bombing of the capital’s main Shiite shrine, which killed one person and wounded dozens more, has further heightened the fears of minorities living in the mainly Muslim, but officially secular nation.

Although that attack was also claimed by IS, the government responded by denying the extremist group was active in Bangladesh and instead rounded up dozens of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s opponents.

BNP secretary-general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir rejected the home minister’s claim, saying that it was “unacceptable and not believable.”

“We have said clearly that the government should conduct proper investigations into these murders. Instead, they are using these to suppress a democratic opposition,” he said.

The government has consistently blamed the BNP and its main Islamisc ally Jamaat-e-Islami for the unrest that has plagued Bangladesh since their refusal to take part in a general election in January last year.

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