Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday dismissed the Islamic State’s claim of murdering two foreigners within a week, saying the opposition BNP-Jamaat alliance has killed them to “tarnish” her government’s image.
“We have still not found any involvement (of ISIS). We have to investigate,” Hasina told press at Ganabhaban,her official residence in the capital.
Describing the murders of a Japanese and an Italian 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 murder of foreigners have taken place at a time when the war crimes trials are taking place.
The war crimes trials involve top Jamaat leaders who were opposed to Bangladesh independence from Pakistan in 1971. Some of the Jamat leaders have already been sentenced to death.
“We will take action and track down the culprits. But if we get carried away by these murders and overlook our achievements, the BNP-Jamaat conspiracy will be successful,” Hasina said.
Japanese national Hosi Koniyo, 66, 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.
Masked attackers riding a motorbike shot and killed him in northern Bangladesh, the second foreigner to be gunned down in a week after an Italian aid worker was killed in the neighbhouring country.
In a statement in Arabic language, the ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Koniyo, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online.
However, Questioning ISIS claim Hasina said, “We’ve got no clues. If someone claims responsibility, why should we have to accept it?”
“Until we find out the link through investigation, I don’t think there is any reason for us to accept it,” she said, adding that intelligence agencies are working on that.
Police has also detained the businessman, along with the rickshaw puller, Koniyo’s landlord and another resident of the area, for questioning.
Bangladesh had previously also downplayed the ISIS claim of killing of the Italian worker, describing it as an “isolated incident”.