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Bangladeshi gay rights activist killed in suspected Islamist attack

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DHAKA — Suspected Islamist militants have hacked to death a leading gay rights activist and a friend in an apartment in the Bangladeshi capital, police say.

Five or six people went to the apartment of Julhas Mannan, an editor of Bangladesh’s first magazine for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Roopbaan, and attacked him and a friend with sharp weapons, Dhaka city police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder said, quoting witnesses.

The attack came two days after a university professor was killed in similar fashion on Saturday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Mr Mannan previously worked at the US embassy and its USAID arm.

“We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders,” US ambassador Marcia Bernicat said.

The attackers also injured a security guard, who was undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Witnesses said the attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they fled the scene.

The Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people has seen a surge in violent attacks over the past few months in which liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted.

Five secular bloggers and a publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh since February last year.

A group affiliated with Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the killing of a liberal Bangladeshi blogger earlier this month.

The Islamic State group has also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh since September.

The Government has denied that the Islamic State or Al Qaeda groups have a presence in the country and said homegrown Islamist radicals are behind the recent attacks.

Reuters

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Far-West Province has high potential: Minister Bhatta

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BAITADI— Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forests and Environment of Far-West Province Maya Bhatta has said that Far-West Province has high potentials for development.

At an orientation programme for journalists in Baitadi on Saturday, Bhatta said that the Far-West Province has high chance for religious tourism.

On the occasion, Province Minister Bhatta feted Far-West Provincial Chairman of National Association of Tourism Journalists (NATOJ) Amar Raj Bhattarai and newly-elected Chairman of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Baitadi chapter Mahesh Prasad Awasthi.

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