Gunmen shoot dead Bangladesh lawmaker

DHAKA (AFP) - Gunmen shot dead a Bangladeshi ruling party lawmaker on Saturday (Dec 31), police said, more than a year after he was arrested for allegedly shooting and seriously injuring a nine-year-old boy.

Up to three attackers were involved in the killing of 48-year-old Manjurul Islam Liton in his village home in his constituency in the northern district of Gaibandha, deputy police chief Robiul Islam told AFP.

"They fired at him three times, but two bullets hit him near his chest. He died after being taken to a hospital in the (northern city of) Rangpur," Islam said.

The assailants escaped and police have no clue about the motive, he added.

Liton, a member of the ruling Awami League party, was arrested in October 2015 on suspicion of firing shots that seriously injured a boy.

The boy was reportedly out walking with his uncle when the MP drove past and called the man over.

Liton apparently became angry when the uncle did not respond, and pulled out his gun and fired it, missing the man and hitting the child.

Police are still investigating the incident, which sparked protests in Gaibandha and in the capital Dhaka.

The latest shooting capped a deadly year for the Muslim majority country after suspected Islamist extremists carried out a series of killings of foreigners, religious minorities, bloggers and rights activists.

The Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned extremist outfit, was blamed for most of the attacks including the July 1 massacre at a Dhaka restaurant in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.

In May this year the same group was blamed for the murder of a Hindu trader just a few kilometres from the town where Liton was shot dead.

The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for most of the killings, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government blames local militant groups like JMB for the carnage.