US working to verify 'IS claim'
The United States yesterday said it took seriously the reported Islamic State claims of killing two foreigners in Bangladesh.
“The US is working hard right now with the Bangladesh government to verify the ISIL claims of killing the two foreign nationals,” said Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, the US ambassador in Dhaka.
IS is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Responding to queries at a press briefing after the concluding ceremony of a five-day US-Bangladesh joint naval exercise in Chittagong, Bernicat said the US would remain engaged with Bangladesh as it valued “Bangladesh as a strong partner in countering violent extremism and terrorism”.
Unknown assailants killed Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella in Dhaka and Japanese national Hoshi Kunio in Rangpur in the span of five days.
The IS reportedly claimed responsibilities for the murders.
Bangladesh, however, said there was no activity of the gloabl extremist group in the country.
A diplomatic source last night told The Daily Star a three-member team from Tokyo of Japan was likely to be in Bangladesh today to look into the murder of Hoshi Kunio.
Japanese Ambassador Masato Watanabe yesterday met Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal Khan and sought security for Japanese nationals in Bangladesh.
The minister assured Masato of ensuring the security and sought a list of Japanese citizens and their locations in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh foreign and home ministries are planning to jointly organise a briefing for foreign diplomats today or tomorrow over the security issues following killings of two foreign nationals, added the source, asking not to be named.
A good number of Japanese nationals, including volunteers and experts, are currently living in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka yesterday updated its security advisory for its citizens in Bangladesh, encouraging them to exercise “high level of security awareness” during travels.
The mission posted the security note on its official Facebook page in Japanese language, including the international media's claim of IS links with the killing of the Japanese national in Rangpur.
Contacted, a Japanese diplomat explained to The Daily Star the gist of the message.
The murders of Tavella and Hoshi have raised serious concern among foreign missions and citizens in Bangladesh, making them anxious about their safety and security.
The European Union (EU) yesterday condemned the murders and expressed its hope and confidence that the law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh will capture the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Responding to a query, the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh also termed the incidents “brutal”.
“The EU offers condolences to the members of the victims' families,” it said.
Meanwhile, talking to The Daily Star , a diplomatic source said chiefs of the diplomatic missions of like-minded countries will meet tomorrow afternoon at one of the European ambassador's residence to discuss the current situation and their next course of action.
“We are in close touch with our colleagues of other countries and having informal talks over telephone with each other.
"We will sit together Tuesday afternoon and discuss the murders of a Japanese and an Italian national, which have created serious concern among the international community in Bangladesh,” said chief of a mission, wishing not to be named.
AUSTRALIA TRAVEL ADVICE
The Australian government in an updated travel advice yesterday advised its staff to travel only by vehicle in Dhaka for the time being, mentioning the murder of Kunio.
“This restriction is in addition to their ongoing advice to staff to limit their movements in public places, including locations frequented by foreigners,” the update read.
“We recommend that Australians adopt similar security measures. The level of advice has not changed.
"You should exercise a high degree of caution in Bangladesh,” it added.
Canadian High Commissioner in Dhaka Benoît-Pierre Laramée and all the employees at the mission yesterday expressed deep shock at the killing Kunio.
They also hoped that the perpetrators would be brought to justice soon, according to a message posted on the high commission's official Facebook page.