DHAKA: Bangladeshi police said that a top militant in police custody was killed on Thursday, in the latest in a string of what activists suspect are extra-judicial killings.
Abdur Rahman was a regional military chief of a group blamed for a 2016 attack on a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 hostages including 18 foreigners, police said. Held since July 24 over the murder of a secular publisher, Rahman died on Thursday morning in an ambush by militants as he accompanied officers on a search operation in the central town of Sirajdikhan, they said.
“He was shot dead during a gunfight with the militants,” district police chief Zaidul Alam told AFP. Two policemen were also injured, police said.
Over the past two years, security forces have shot dead more than 80 alleged militants. Hundreds of suspected militants have also been arrested and scores sentenced to death. The murder on June 11 of Shahzahan Bachchu, 60, a publisher and a former Communist Party official, reawakened worries over a renewal of militant attacks in the Muslim-majority country.
Police said Rahman had admitted that his group was behind the murder. They were initially slow to finger militants as it was the first such killing in more than two years, but counter-terrorism officers later told local media that they thought militants were indeed to blame.
Rahman was the “Dhaka regional military wing chief” of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Alam said. JMB, founded by Bangladeshi militants who took part in the Afghan civil war in the 1990s, regrouped after the execution of its founder and top leadership in 2007, attacking the Holey Artisan Bakery in July 2016.