Suspected Islamists kill Bangladesh anti-terror police officer's wife

The wife of a police official known for battling extremism has been killed in Bangladesh, in what police suspect is the latest in a series of attacks by militants.

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AFP) - Suspected Islamist militants killed the wife of a senior anti-terror officer in the Bangladesh city of Chittagong on Sunday (June 5), the latest attack thought carried out by local extremists, the police said.

Three unidentified men stabbed and then shot Ms Mahmuda Begum in the head as she walked her son to a school bus stop near her home, Chittagong Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Moktar Hossain said.

Ms Begum was the wife of Mr Babul Akter, who has led several high-profile operations against the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant group in the south-eastern city in recent months.

 

"The attackers came on a motorcycle. Her son said she was stabbed first. Then they pointed a pistol near her ear and shot several times," Mr Hossain told AFP.

"We suspect JMB or local Islamist extremists for the attack. Akter led successful anti-militant raids in Chittagong in which several JMB men were arrested," he said.

Mr Akter, who was recently posted to the police headquarters in Dhaka, has received threats and he was asked to step up his personal security.

In October last year, Mr Akter and his team arrested top JMB militant Mohammad Javed, along with four others and seized a huge cache of explosives from their hideout, according to police.

Javed was later killed by a grenade during a police raid of another JMB hideout, to which he was brought along as an informant.

The attack comes as Muslim-majority Bangladesh reels from a wave of gruesome murders of liberals, secular activists and religious minorities by suspected Islamist militants.

Police say around 40 people have been killed by homegrown Islamists in the past three years, with a spike in attacks in recent weeks.

A Hindu trader was hacked to death last week, days after a homoeopathic doctor was also slaughtered along with a Buddhist monk.

International militants such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda's South Asia wing have claimed responsibility for most of the murders, but the authorities deny these groups are present in the country.

Bangladesh's secular government instead blames local opponents. Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including banning the largest Islamist party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.