Liberal Bangladeshi blogger killed by machete-wielding attackers

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Activists with flaming torches shout during a street march in Dhaka on November 2, 2015. The night time protest was held in response to the recent murder of Faysal Arefin, a publisher of books by critics of religious militancy in Bangladesh, as well as the murders of secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years. Picture taken on November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIDALGO-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 12, 2015.

Activists with flaming torches shout during a street march in Dhaka on November 2, 2015. The night time protest was held in response to the recent murder of Faysal Arefin, a publisher of books by critics of religious militancy in Bangladesh, as well as the murders of secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years. Picture taken on November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIDALGO-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 12, 2015.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Attackers in Bangladesh wielding machetes killed a liberal blogger, police said, the latest in series of murders of secular activists by suspected Islamist militants.

Postgraduate law student Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was attacked as he was returning from a class at his university in the capital, Dhaka, late on Wednesday, police said Thursday (April 7).

Last year, suspected militants killed five secular writers and a publisher, including a Bangladeshi-American activist. A banned Islamist militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team, claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.


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Police officer Tapan Chandra Shaha said three or four men attacked Samad with machetes and then shot him after he fell to the ground.

People heard the attackers shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is Greatest) as they fled, he said.

Imran H. Sarker, convener of the BOAN online activist group, said Samad was an outspoken critic of injustice and militancy.

“We found him always a loud voice against all injustice and also a great supporter of secularism,” Sarker told Reuters.


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Bangladesh has seen a wave of militant violence over the past year or so, including a series of bomb attacks on mosques and Hindu temples.

Some attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State group, including the killing of Hindu priest, a Japanese citizen, an Italian aid worker and a policeman.

The government denies that the Islamic State group has a presence in the Muslim-majority country of 160 million people.

Hundreds of students from the Jagannath University, where Samad studied, protested against his murder and demanded the prompt arrest of the killers.

They blocked roads in and around the university and told reporters that if those behind the earlier murders of bloggers had been punished then Samad would not have been attacked.

“Talented youths are killed one after another, but there are no visible measures against these heinous acts,” said Kabir Chowdhury Tanmoy, president of the Online Activist Forum, which advocates secularism.

EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon condemned the killing, saying freedom of expression was a fundamental human right.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir)