Second foreigner shot dead in Bangladesh

Police officers standing guard at the site where a Japanese citizen was killed by masked men in Rangpur.
Police officers standing guard at the site where a Japanese citizen was killed by masked men in Rangpur.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Killing of Japanese man comes five days after murder of Italian; ISIS involvement suspected

DHAKA • Police in Bangladesh said they have detained four people in connection with the shooting death yesterday of a Japanese citizen, the second foreign national killed in the South Asian nation within a week.

Mr Kunio Hoshi, 65, was attacked by unidentified assailants in Kownia in Rangpur district, 335km north of the capital Dhaka, and died on the way to hospital, police said.

The killing bore some similarities to the shooting death of an Italian working in Bangladesh, Mr Cesare Tavella, on Monday. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for that attack, the first such claim the militant group has made in Bangladesh.

"This killing was also carried out by three masked men who came by motorcycle and used a pistol, so the motives may be same," said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan.

Mr Farukh Hossain, an additional superintendent of police of Rangpur district, said: "We have detained four persons and are trying to know the motive for the killing."

One of the suspects was a rickshaw puller and another was the owner of a residence close to where the attack took place, police had revealed earlier.

Mr Hoshi, who was born in Bangladesh, was travelling to the town from the city of Rangpur, where he had been living for a while, on a cycle rickshaw when his vehicle was stopped by three men riding on a motorcycle.

He was shot in the chest, hand and leg, Mr Rezaul Karim, the officer in charge of the local police station, told reporters. The victim was working on a cattle-feeding project and had come to Rangpur on Aug 28.

A Japanese embassy spokesman in Dhaka confirmed that they were seeking more information regarding Mr Hoshi.

The Bangladeshi government has sought to calm escalating security fears in the country, describing the Italian's murder as an "isolated incident". After the shooting of Mr Hoshi, it said it was taking both murders "very seriously".

International schools have closed temporarily and Western embassies have restricted their diplomats' movements, while Australia's cricket team has cancelled a planned tour of the country over security concerns.

Attacks on foreigners are rare in Bangladesh, despite a rising tide of Islamist violence over the past year that has seen four online critics of religious militancy hacked to death, among them an American citizen of Bangladesh origin.

Bangladesh prides itself on being a mainly moderate Muslim country.

But the gruesome killings of a series of atheist bloggers this year have rocked the nation and sparked a crackdown on local hardline Islamist groups.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2015, with the headline 'Second foreigner shot dead in Bangladesh'. Print Edition | Subscribe