DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police in Bangladesh have arrested two more suspected members of a banned militant group thought to be behind the slaying of a secular blogger, the fourth such killing this year.
Dhaka Metropolitan police official Mahbub Alam said Kausar Hossain Khan, 29, and Kamal Hossain Sardar, 29, were arrested late Thursday and are suspected members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team blamed for attacks on atheist bloggers and writers.
Two other people, Saad-al-Nahin and Masud Rana, were arrested two weeks ago for suspected involvement in the killing of blogger Niladri Chottopadhay Niloy, 28. Alam said the latest arrests were a result of interrogations of the two.
A magistrate in Dhaka allowed police to hold Khan and Sardar for five days for interrogation, detective Mahbubur Rahman said. Rahman said he had sought 10 days but magistrate Imdadul Haque approved five days.
Niloy was hacked to death on Aug. 7. His wife, Asha Moni, filed a murder case against four unnamed persons.
Police would not provide more details about Khan and Sardar but said they had been free on bail after being accused of attempted murder in an attack on another blogger, Asif Mohiuddin, two years ago. Mohiuddin has since fled for Germany.
Niloy was known to his friends as an atheist blogger whose online name was Niloy Chowdhury. His family and friends said he criticized radical Islamists at home and abroad, and had sought police protection after receiving threats. Police asked him to leave the country for his safety, they said.
The United States has expressed concern over the killing, while the United Nations called for Bangladeshi authorities to ensure accountability and prevent such violence. U.N. Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt is to visit Bangladesh starting Monday to assess the state of freedom of religion and belief in the South Asian country.
In February, Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on the Dhaka University campus while walking with his wife. Two other bloggers were attacked and killed in March and April, one in Dhaka and another in the northeastern city of Sylhet.
Three suspects including a Bangladeshi-born British citizen have been arrested in connection with Roy's death, but investigations into those cases have had no major breakthroughs.