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August 19, 2015 12:46 pm

Bangladesh Police Arrest Three Islamists in Bloggers’ Murder

avatar by Steven Emerson

The cover of a Koran. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The cover of a Koran. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Police in Bangladesh arrested three men Tuesday, who are suspected of hacking to death at least two secular bloggers this year, including American Avijit Roy.

British national Touhidur Rahman, 58, is pegged as the “main planner” and financier of the attacks. He was arrested along with Sadek Ali Mithu, 28, and 35-year-old Aminul Mallik. The three are said to be members of Ansarullah Bangla Team, a radical group banned by Bangladesh last May in response to the attacks on the secular writers.

Ansarullah claims to be affiliated with al-Qaeda’s Indian branch.

Reports indicate the men were part of a five-man team involved in plotting the attacks and scouting the victims, but that two other Ansarullah members hacked Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das to death.

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Rahman and Mithu allegedly admitted their roles in the killings, an official with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) force told reporters.

Roy, a naturalized citizen who lived in Georgia, returned to Bangladesh with his wife for a book fair in February when they were attacked by masked men wielding machetes. He was a frequent critic of radical Islamic doctrine who was the subject of death threats.

Das was murdered in a similar attack in May. Two other secular bloggers have been hacked to death in Bangladesh this year, the most recent coming August 7, when a blogger who wrote under the name Niloy Neel was attacked and killed in his own home.

Farabi Shafiur Rahman, another Ansarullah Bangla Team member who made the threats against Roy, was arrested in March.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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