Bangladesh police arrest student over professor's murder: Official

A man holds a portrait of Bangladeshi professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, who was hacked to death by unidentified attackers, in Rajshahi on April 23, 2016.
A man holds a portrait of Bangladeshi professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, who was hacked to death by unidentified attackers, in Rajshahi on April 23, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh police arrested an Islamist student on Sunday (April 24) over the gruesome murder of a professor one day earlier, the latest such killing claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

Attackers wielding machetes almost beheaded English professor Rezaul Karim Siddique on Saturday in the north-western city of Rajshahi, following a string of similar killings of secular activists by Islamist militants.

The 58-year-old was hacked to death as he walked to the bus station from his home.

 

The student from Rajshahi University where Siddique taught was arrested early Sunday for questioning, although the hunt was still on for other suspects, said Rajshahi deputy police commissioner Nahidul Islam.

 

He said the unidentified student, who is studying public administration, is a member of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Bangladesh's largest Islamist opposition party the Jamaat-e-Islami.

"We have detained a 21-year-old Rajshahi University student who is a Shibir member as a suspect over the murder," Islam told AFP, without detailing his alleged role in the attack.

Siddique was the fourth professor from Rajshahi University to be killed by suspected Islamists in recent years.

Five secular bloggers and a publisher have also been murdered, as well as members of minority groups and foreigners, as Bangladesh reels from rising Islamist violence.

Police said that in each of the attacks on the bloggers and online activists, attackers hacked the victim to death with machetes or cleavers.

There was no immediate reaction from the government to the ISIS's claim of responsibility.

In the past it has denied ISIS has a presence in the country, instead blaming homegrown Islamist militants for the murders and the opposition for trying to destabilise the country.