Suspected Islamist militants hacked to death two people, including an editor of a transgender magazine, in the Bangladeshi capital on Monday, police said.
Five or six people went to the apartment of Julhas Mannan, an editor of Bangladesh’s first magazine for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community “Rupban”, and attacked him and a friend with sharp weapons, Dhaka city police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder said, quoting witnesses.
Mannan previously worked at the U.S. embassy.
They also wounded a security guard, who was undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Witnesses said the attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they fled the scene.
The attack came two days after a university professor, 58-year-old Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, was killed in a similar fashion in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. Siddique, who taught English and was known for his liberal views, was walking to a bus station in Rajshah when he was hacked to death with machetes.
The Muslim-majority country has seen a surge in violent attacks over the past few months in which liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted. At least five bloggers have been hacked to death in Bangladesh by Islamist extremists since February 2015, including secular bloggers Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy, 28, and Nazimuddin Samad, also 28.
Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh since September.
The government has denied that the Islamic State or al Qaeda groups have a presence in the country and said homegrown Islamist radicals are behind the recent attacks. At least five militants have been killed in shootouts since November as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Muslim state.
The militant Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team released a statement last September demanding that all writers, bloggers, and activists who have criticized Islamic extremism have their Bangladeshi citizenship revoked.
“Otherwise they will be killed wherever they can be found in the Almighty’s world,” the statement said. The group’s hit list, which goes back to 2013, has 84 names on it, according to the Indian Express.