'Trained assassin' kills two at Bangladesh shrine

Millions of Bangladeshis worship at shrines, but militants consider shrine-goers as grave worshippers


September 04, 2015
The murderer escaped after slitting the throats of the shrine's head custodian and his assistant in the neighbourhood of Bayezid Bostami STOCK IMAGE

Two men were slaughtered inside an Islamic Sufi shrine in the Bangladesh port city of Chittagong on Friday in an attack police said was carried out by a "trained and unknown assassin".

The murderer escaped after slitting the throats of the shrine's head custodian and his assistant in the neighbourhood of Bayezid Bostami, Chittagong police commissioner Abdul Jalil Mondal told AFP.

The attack took place just after the end of Friday prayer, when the usually crowded Lengta Fokirer Majar is comparatively quiet.

"The killer's professionalism showed that he was trained for such activities," Mondal said, adding that the murderer detonated two handmade bombs near the shrine's entrance to create a diversion.

Police raised the possibility that Islamist militants, who have carried out several attacks on shrines and their guards in the past decade, could be behind the assault.

"It might be one of those Islamist militant groups who think shrines conduct unholy practices and spread misconceptions of Islam," a local police official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Millions of Bangladeshis worship at shrines, but militants consider Sufis -- followers of a mystical form of Islam -- and other shrine-goers as heretics and grave worshippers.

Local police chief Prodip Kumar Das said his team was "working to find clues to the murders".

The banned Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh was one of several Islamist groups behind a series of attacks on sacred shrines and other places belonging to the Sufi and Ahmadia sects between 2002 and 2004.

A grenade attack in 2004 on the then British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Anwar Choudhury, inside a famous shrine in the northeastern city of Sylhet killed three and left the diplomat wounded.

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