Police in Bangladesh arrest boss of militant group that killed gay activists

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Authorities in Bangladesh have said that they have arrested an IT boss at a banned militant Islamist group which had targeted and killed gay rights activists.

Police on Tuesday said that they had arrested the suspect, Ashfaaur Rahman, who worked as the IT boss of the militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team.

The chief of Bangladesh’s anti-terrorism taskforce, Monirul Islam, told a news conference that Rahman had been arrested late on Monday.

Mahbub Tonoy

He was arrested in the capital Dhaka, and brought before the media.

According to the police chief, Rahman was close to former army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Hague, who had gone into hiding when he was accused of being involved in a plot to topple the government in 2011.

Islam said that Rahman had joined the militant group when he was studying computer science at university.

He said the accused had gathered information including tracking down bloggers and activists through the hacking of social media accounts.

According to authorities in Bangladesh, the group is responsible for a number of attacks which started in February 2015.

This includes five bloggers, a publisher and two gay-rights activist being hacked to death.

Despite Al Qaeda, which the group is said to have been inspired by, and Daesh having claimed responsibility for the killings, Bangladeshi police say those groups don’t have a presence in the country.

Instead they have blamed groups based in the country.

Last year, police arrested a member of the militant group for the murder of the two gay rights activists.
The police force on Sunday said they had arrested the man in relation to the murders of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy.

Several members of the same group were convicted in 2015 for the 2013 murder of an atheist blogger.

Last year police said they had killed a militant behind the brutal murder of the gay journalist.