New York, US (BBN)-Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday dismissed the Islamic State’s claims of shooting dead two foreigners within a week, saying the Opposition BNP-Jamaat alliance has killed them to “tarnish” her government’s image.
A day after a 66-year-old Japanese national was shot dead by masked gunmen, authorities stepped up security of foreign diplomats and deployed heavily-armed police officers to guard the capital’s diplomatic zone, amid calls by the US and the EU to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice, reports the PTI.
“We have still not found any involvement (of ISIS). We have to investigate,” Hasina told reporters at Ganabhaban, her official residence in the capital, after arriving from New York where she attended the 70th UN General Assembly session.
Describing the murders of the Japanese and an Italian nationals as “clearly planned and politically motivated”, she said the killings were part of a conspiracy to “tarnish the image” of her government.
“There is no reason to believe that all our achievements will be overshadowed by these heinous murders, but that is what is being attempted,” she said.
The BNP-Jamaat have “definitely abetted these murders in an attempt to overshadow Bangladesh’s achievements”, she said.
Hasina said that the murders of foreigners have taken place at a time when the war crimes trials are taking place.
The trials involve top Jamaat leaders who were opposed to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Some Jamat leaders have already been sentenced to death.
Police, meanwhile, stepped up security in the capital’s diplomatic zone.
Heavily-armed officers patrolled key roads and entry points in the wake of the latest murder.
The government has boosted security of foreign diplomats and foreigners across the country, a senior police official said.
Japanese national Hosi Koniyo, who was headed to an agriculture farm on the outskirts of northern Rangpur city in a rickshaw, was shot thrice in the chest, shoulder and hand by the unidentified assassins on Saturday. He died instantly.
In a statement in Arabic, ISIS — which has ambitions to spread into South Asia — claimed responsibility for the attack on Koniyo, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online.
Koniyo’s murder came five days after 50-year-old Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was killed when motorbike-born terrorists shot him dead in Dhaka’s diplomatic area.
ISIS had also claimed responsibility for the killing of the Italian aid worker last week in Dhaka.