Japanese national shot dead in northern Bangladesh

DHAKA: A Japanese citizen was shot dead by gunmen in a northern Bangladesh town on Saturday, police said, days after an Italian aid worker was murdered in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.


Police said the victim, a man aged about 55-60, was riding in a rickshaw when he was shot dead in Rangpur district at about 10:30 am local time (0430 GMT).

“The victim was shot dead in the remote town of Kaunia today. He was travelling to the town from Rangpur city, where he had been living for a while, on a cycle rickshaw when his vehicle was stopped by three men riding on a motorcycle,” deputy police chief of Rangpur, Saifur Rahman, told AFP.

“Two of the assailants shot him twice in the chest with pistols while the other waited with the motorbike ready to flee,” local police chief Rezaul Karim said.

The victim worked for a farming project in Rangpur, about 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, police said.

His body was taken to Rangpur Medical College morgue. Police have not yet identified any motive for the murder.

The Japanese embassy in Dhaka could not immediately be reached for comment.

The attack came less than a week after an Italian aid worker was shot dead near the capital s diplomatic zone.

The government has sought to calm escalating security fears in the country after the attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, describing it as an “isolated incident”.

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

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 country and sparked a crackdown on local hardline Islamist groups.