Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Islamic State (IS) is not responsible for the murder of the Italian volunteer Cesare Tavella or the Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio, according to statements made today by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Speaking at a press conference held at his residence (Gono Bhaban) in Dhaka the head of government, claimed the murders were the work of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic political organization).
"The style of the murders of the two foreign nationals- said the prime minister - is as if ... they were well prepared." "I can say that no group like the Islamic state is active here. Our intelligence - the woman continued - is on alert and have no evidence of any operations by such groups in Bangladesh. "
The Islamic State has claimed both crimes. According to local police, Hoshi Kunio, 66, was traveling on a rickshaw on 3 October in the city of Kaunia, Rangpur district, when "his vehicle was blocked by three masked men on a motorcycle." The man was killed by gunshots. Kunio was working on an agricultural project in Rangpur, 300 km north of Dhaka. According to the Site Intelligence Group, the Caliphate claimed responsibility for the murder on Twitter.
The murder of Japanese citizen comes less than a week from that of Italian Cesare Tavella, 50, shot dead on 29 September in the diplomatic area of the capital while jogging. Following the murder, the governments of the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia have raised the alert level for their diplomatic missions in Bangladesh and the countries of South Asia. International schools in Dhaka were temporarily closed. The Australian cricket team has canceled a tour in the country, scheduled for last week, due to security concerns.
While the motive of the murder of Caesar Tavella seems to have been his "western" origin, it is less clear what motivated the murder of Hoshi Kunio who, according to witnesses, had recently converted to Islam.
Siddik Hossain, imam of Munshiparha, told bdnews24.com: "I personally converted him to Islam during the last Ramadan, in the presence of a group of local Muslims. He has prayed the Jumma prayers in the mosque many times since that day. "
Riazul Islam Rintu, from Munshiparha, confirms that Hoshi Kunio had converted on the 27th day of Ramadan and had taken the name of Golam Kibria: "I was present when he converted. He prayed the Jumma prayers in a mosque near his home and has participated in the Eid-ul-Azha in Munshiparha mosque ".