Updated: October 4, 2015 7:32:32 am
A Japanese man, Kunio Hoshi, 65, was shot dead by masked assailants on a motorcycle in Bangladesh on Saturday, the second foreigner to be gunned down in a week after an Italian aid worker was killed in a near-identical attack. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for today’s killing and threatened more such attacks.
The IS had also claimed responsibility for killing the Italian aid worker, Cesare Tavella, 50, who was gunned down by men on a motorcycle in Dhaka’s diplomatic Gulshan area earlier this week. “There will continue to be a series of ongoing security operations against nationals of crusader coalition countries, they will not have safety or a livelihood in Muslim lands,” the group tweeted today.
Police said four suspects had been detained in connection with the shooting of Hoshi in Rangpur district, 335 km north of Dhaka. “This (Hoshi’s) killing was also carried out by three masked men who came on a motorcycle and used a pistol, so the motives may be same,” said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.
Hoshi, who was headed to a farm on the outskirts of Rangpur in a rickshaw, was shot thrice in the chest, shoulder and hand. “It appears to be a targeted killing as the assailants in masks shot him thrice. The Japanese gentleman died instantly,” said the officer-in-charge of the local police station, Rezaul Karim.
“Hoshi was alone in the rickshaw. The assailants wore masks… (they) shot him… and then immediately fled on a motorcycle,” said an eyewitness.
A frequent visitor to Bangladesh, Hoshi had been in Rangpur for the last six months and was familiar in the neighbourhood because of his philanthropic work. He had set up the farm, which he visited daily, with the help of a local businessman to grow grass for cattle.
Police have detained the businessman, rickshaw puller, Hoshi’s landlord and another resident of the area, for questioning.
Earlier, the Bangladesh government had downplayed the IS claim and described the attack on the Italian aid worker as an “isolated incident”. Security officials have not ruled out that the IS could be using “local sympathisers” to carry out such attacks.
Meanwhile, the government sought to allay security concerns of foreign nationals, saying it was taking both murders “very seriously”. “Whoever is involved in the killings will be identified and brought to book,” said the home minister.
Bangladesh has been struggling to curb the rising violence by hardline Islamist groups. It has banned several groups that have been blamed for killing four bloggers, including an American citizen of Bangladesh origin, this year.
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