The Bangladesh wing of Al Qaeda on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the killing of a gay rights activist and his friend in the national capital.
A statement from Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) said Xulhaz Mannan, editor of the LGBT magazine “Roopbaan”, and Samir Mahbub were killed by mujahideen because they “were pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh”.
“Alhamdulillah. By the grace of Almighty Allah, the mujahideen of Ansar-al-Islam (AQIS, Bangladesh branch) were able to assassinate Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Samir Mahbub Tonoy,” the statement said.
“They were working day and night to promote homosexuality among the people of this land since 1998 with the help of their masters, the US crusaders and its Indian allies,” it added.
Unidentified men stabbed and killed Mannan and Tonoy on Monday evening. Besides editing the country’s first and only LGBT magazine, Mannan was an employee of USAID.
A policeman was injured when a patrol team chased the attackers while they were fleeing from Mannan’s flat. A security guard of the building where Mannan lived was also injured.
The guard told reporters that five to six youngsters came to the building, posing as courier service staff. He said they were young and carried bags, and one of them had a pistol.
Officials said two separate cases had been filed regarding the murders, one by the police and another by Mannan’s brother.
The Inspector General of Police said some evidence had been found at the scene of the attack and pledged to bring the killers to book. No arrests have been made so far.
The killings were condemned by US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, secretary of state John Kerry and Amnesty International. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to bring the killers to justice.
The killings took place just two days after unidentified men hacked to death university teacher Rezaul Karim Siddique in the northwestern city of Rajshahi.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing Siddique, according to US-based SITE Intelligence Group, but Bangladeshi authorities have said the group has no presence in the country.