While intelligence is struggling to get any clue over the murders of an Italian and a Japanese in a span of five days, authorities in Bangladesh are downplaying the claims by the Islamic State that it was behind the deadly murders and its vow to kill more.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday shifted the blame on to the opposition, rejecting the notion that the IS was existent in Bangladesh.
Home Minister Asaduzzman Khan Kamal also denied that the IS was playing a pseudo war against western world by singling out its citizens living in Bangladesh.
After Saturday’s killing of Japanese citizen Kunio Hoshi in a village in northern Rangpur district, the Islamic State group issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online.
HT could not confirm the statement independently and the intelligence in Bangladesh still remained clueless. The sunni radical group had also claimed responsibility for the killing of aid worker Cesare Tavella in Dhaka’s high security Gulshan diplomatic zone.
On Sunday, Hasina said the killings were nothing but a move to destabilize the country.
“The style of killings of two foreigners are similar, these are planned murders. If you take the remark of a BNP leader and his reaction after the killing of Italian national in Gulshan area, things get clear,” Hasina told a news briefing in Dhaka.
Responding to another query, she said: “Of course, this is planned ...the trial of war criminals are going on”
The Home Minister, meanwhile, told the Hindustan Times that he believed there was no existence of the Islamic State.
“I can clearly tell you that it was not the act of the IS. Why would they do that? It was meant to create chaos in the country and benefit politically,” he said by phone.
“The so-called statements by the IS claiming the responsibility for the killings of the foreigners have no base. Those are just rubbish. Still we are examining those, but we cannot take that for granted unless we can prove that,” he said.
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s statement, a BNP spokesman rejected the allegation and Hasina’s statements were unexpected and regrettable.
“The incidents of the murders are under investigation, at this stage such statement by the prime minister may influence the investigation process,” spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon told a news briefing.
After Saturday’s killing, police in Rangpur district filed a murder case, accusing three unidentified people in the shooting.