An active member of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team yesterday confessed at a Dhaka court that he, along with four others, took part in the murders of USAID staffer and LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend in 2016.
Metropolitan Magistrate Md Mainul Islam recorded the confessional statement of Asadullah for over three hours at his chamber after investigating officer of the case Md Manirul Islam, an inspector of Counter Terrorism & Transnational Crime Unit of DMP, produced him for recording the statement.
“I was one of the two ABT men who stabbed and obstructed the security guard of Xulhaz's home in Kalabagan, to let three others go into the flat and hack the duo to death,” he said in his statement. The plan was orchestrated by ABT operation commander Maj (sacked) Syed Ziaul Haq and several others are involved in the double murder, Asadullah confessed.
After recording the statement, the magistrate ordered to send Asadullah to Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj.
On January 15, CTTC arrested Asadullah at a house in Gazipur's Tongi. He was later remanded in two phases.
Other ABT members -- Saimun alias Shahrier, Arafat Siam and Sheikh Abdullah Jayed -- had earlier been arrested in connection with the killings, and gave confessional statements.
USAID staffer Xulhaz and his friend Khandoker Mahbub Rabby Tonoy were hacked to death inside Xulhaz's flat on April 25, 2016.
According to CTTC officials, Asadullah, a former Shibir activist, got involved in militancy in 2015 and came to Dhaka in January the following year. At a hideout in Uttar Badda, he took training on how to use machetes and guns. During an anti-militancy drive at the hideout on February 19, 2016, Asadullah had stabbed police inspector Bahauddin and fled away with the cop's firearm. Bahauddin identified Asadullah as his attacker seeing his photograph after his arrest, sources said.
CTTC officials claimed Asadullah had a close connection with Maj (sacked) Zia who gave him organisational directives using a secure messaging app as recently as January 6 this year. Zia has been on the run.