NEW DELHI (AP) — A lawmaker from Bangladesh's ruling party has been shot dead by masked men in northern Bangladesh, police said Sunday.
Manzurul Islam Liton, a national legislator from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party, was shot at his home in Gaibandha district on Saturday evening, said local police chief Atiar Rahman.
Family members told police that four masked men arrived on motorcycles, entered the house and shot Liton at close range before running away, Rahman said.
He was declared dead by doctors at a local hospital. Police didn't immediately give further details.
Liton had been vocal against religious extremism in Bangladesh.
Obaidul Quader, an Awami League general secretary, told reporters that the attack on Liton was "a planned murder" and appeared to be a "cowardly act of the sectarian forces."
"The state will make sure that religious extremists will pay a high price for this crime," Quader said.
Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation ruled by largely secular laws, has been experiencing threats in recent years from Islamist militants possibly inspired by the Islamic State group.
Dozens of atheist and secular bloggers, writers, publishers, members of religious minority groups and foreigners have been attacked and killed in the impoverished South Asian nation in recent years.
In a major attack last July, a group of young men killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, inside a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Bangladeshi authorities said it was the work of Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, a homegrown radical group, and have rejected any IS presence in the country.
Since July, some 40 suspected Islamist militants have been killed in raids by security officials.