Unidentified miscreants on Monday evening stabbed to death a local staff of USAID and his friend in an apartment in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
Mohammed Iqbal, officer-in-charge in Dhaka’s Kalabagan area, said Xulhaz Mannan, who previously worked as a protocol officer of an American ambassador to Dhaka, was killed along with his friend Tanay Majumder.
Details about Majumder are unclear, and police said Mannan was a cousin of former foreign minister Dipu Moni, a leader of the ruling Awami League party.
Iqbal said Mannan was an editor of Bangladesh’s first gay rights magazine Roopbaan, which was launched in 2014 to promote gay rights.
A security guard, Mohammed Parvez Mollah, who was also injured in the attack, told reporters that five to six youths came to the apartment, posing as courier service staff.
They hit Mollah with sharp weapons. He was being treated at the state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
He said the killers were young and carried bags on their shoulders, and one of them had a pistol in his hand.
It was not immediately clear as to who were behind the killing, but police suspected radical Islamists.
The latest killings took place two days after unidentified men hacked to death university professor Rezaul Karim Siddique in northwestern city of Rajshahi.
The attackers chanted “Naraye Takbir, Allahu Akbar” as they fled the scene, local media said, quoting witnesses.
Reacting to Monday’s killing, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat said: “I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi this evening in Dhaka. Xulhaz was more than a colleague to those of us fortunate to work with him at the US embassy. He was a dear friend.”
“We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders,” she said.
The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the killing of the professor, according to US-based SITE Intelligence Group, but Bangladesh authorities have denied that the group exists in the country.