The murder of LGBT rights activist Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend Mahbub Tonoy, were horrifying. The last we had heard, a student had been arrested in connection with the case.
Now there has been a further update, as a suspected Islamist militant has been arrested by Bangladeshi police. The suspect has been identified by numerous news outlets as Shariful Islam Shibab, a suspected member of Islamic militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Dhaka police spokesman Maruf Hossain spoke to AFP about the arrests: “We’ve arrested one man in connection with the murder of Xulhaz Mannan. He is a member of the Ansarullah Bangla Team.”
While Shibab has unsurprisingly denied committing the murders, it was revealed during a press statement that Shibab owned one of the two guns used in the attack, and has also supplied bombs and other arms to the ATB previously.
Dhaka counter-terrorism chief Monirul Islam described his arrest as a “breakthrough” in the case, and went on to say: “They killed the gay rights activists because they were creating confusion about Islam.”
Both Xulhaz and Mahbub had received threats in the past over “promoting homosexuality”.
In a statement which was issued last month, the US State Department said: “Secretary Kerry called Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina on April 28 to offer US support for the investigation into the attack that killed human rights advocate and US Embassy employee Xulhas Mannan, along with Tonmoi Mahbub, earlier this week. The Secretary urged Prime Minister Hasina to ensure a thorough investigation of all of these incidents, and to redouble law enforcement efforts to prevent future attacks and protect those who are at risk.”