NEW DELHI (AP) — A suspected member of a banned Islamist group has confessed he fatally shot a Japanese agriculture researcher in northern Bangladesh in October, police said Tuesday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Humayun Kabir said Masud Rana, believed to be a member of Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, told a magistrate on Monday that he and his accomplices attacked and killed Kunio Hoshi in Rangpur district.
Three assailants on a motorbike took part in the Oct. 3 killing, less than a week after an Italian aid worker was shot dead in the capital, Dhaka.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killing, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist organizations. However, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rejected the claim and investigators focused on local extremist groups, including Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.
It was not immediately clear when Rana was arrested. Kabir said the suspect had fled earlier and was detained when he recently returned home.
"We did not disclose details earlier for the sake of the investigation," Kabir said. He said Rana was a regional commander of the group and previously served a jail term because of his involvement with it.
Kabir said six people including Rana have been detained for alleged involvement in the killing.
There is concern that radicalization is on the rise in Muslim-majority Bangladesh after four secular bloggers, two foreigners and a publisher were killed, allegedly by Islamist radical groups, since February this year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its Islamist ally Jamaat-e-Islami, saying they were attempting to create chaos in the country for political gain. Both parties have denied the allegation.