An elderly Buddhist monk was found hacked to death Saturday in Bangladesh, police said, the latest in a spate of murders of religious minorities and secular activists in the Muslim-majority nation.
No group has yet claimed responsibility, although the killing in the remote southeastern district of Bandarban appeared to bear a resemblance to several recent murders by suspected Islamist militants.
“Villagers found Bhante (monk) Maung Shue U Chak’s dead body in a pool of blood inside the Buddhist temple this morning. He was hacked to death,” Jashim Uddin, deputy police chief of Bandarban, told AFP.
Uddin said the monk, thought to be 75, appeared to have been attacked by at least four people at the Buddhist temple in Baishari, some 350 kilometres (220 miles) southeast of Dhaka early Saturday morning.
“We saw human footprints in the temple and found that four to five people entered the compound,” he added.
Suspected Islamists have been blamed for or claimed responsibility in dozens of murders of Sufi, Shiite and Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus, Christians and foreigners in recent years.
The Islamic State group and a Bangladeshi branch of Al-Qaeda have said they carried out several of the killings.
However the secular government in Dhaka denies that IS and Al-Qaeda are behind the attacks, saying they have no known presence in Bangladesh, and blames the killings on homegrown militants.
Buddhists make up less than one percent of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million people.