No headway into the murder of two foreigners in Bangladesh

Investigators are yet to make any headway in their probe into the identical murder of two foreigners within a week’s span, although they have ruled out a possible link of Islamic State.

Ashik HossainGolam Mujtaba Dhruba and
Published : 5 Oct 2015, 01:29 PM
Updated : 5 Oct 2015, 10:10 PM

Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was gunned down in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone on Sept 28, while Japanese Kunio Hoshi was killed in Rangpur on Oct 3.

In both cases, the motorcycle-borne assailants fled after shooting the foreigners, witnesses said.

Tavella’s co-worker has filed a case with Gulshan police accusing unidentified men. An investigation body has been formed to probe the incident.

“It is unclear why he was murdered,” Dhaka detective police’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Mahfuzur Rahman told when asked about the progress of the investigation.

He said several teams were looking into the murder and hoped to solve the mystery soon.

Two days after Kunio Hoshi’s murder, Rangpur police said there was no ‘mentionable’ progress.

“Several teams of law-enforcing agencies are working on the case. But at this juncture, I don’t have any information that can be shared with the media,” police’s Rangpur Range acting DIG Humayun Kabir told

Tavella was murdered amid the UK and Australia’s security warning for its nationals in Bangladesh.

Jihadi threat monitoring portal SITE Intelligence Group said IS had claimed responsibility for Tavella’s murder. A Reuters report said IS had tweeted it was behind Kunio’s murder as well.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has rejected IS link with the killings. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, too, has ruled out the presence of the militant group in Bangladesh.

Earlier, the killing of Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al Ali in Dhaka was found to be the act of muggers.

Tavella, 50, worked as the project manager in the Netherlands-based NGO ICCO Cooperation’s Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS) programme. He lived alone.

Kunio, 66, came to Bangladesh following acquaintance with two expatriate Bangladeshi siblings in Japan and rented a flat in their house in Rangpur town. He lived alone and worked at a grass farm in Kaonia.

Several detectives separately told that they were investigating whether there was any link between the two murders.

They say they are trying to find out whether Tavella had any personal enmity or professional conflict with anyone.

An investigator said video footage collected from the scene lacked visual clarity.

“We’ve questioned the witnesses more than once and are using technology to solve the crime,” the official said but declined to be named.

Police have questioned six persons, including owner of the house where Kunio lived.

The foreigners’ bodies have been kept in hospitals.

Inspector Mozammel Haq of Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost said the Italian embassy had called on Monday noon and asked whether Tavella’s post-mortem examination was over.

“But they did not say when they would receive the body,” he told

Investigating officer Jihad Hossain said they had received the post-mortem report on Sunday.

The report said Tavella died from bullet wounds, he said, adding they were reviewing the report.

Kunio’s post-mortem examination was completed on Sunday. Doctors say he had been shot thrice from close-range.

Rangpur’s Deputy Commissioner Rahat Anowar said they would hand over Kunio’s body to representatives of the Japanese embassy.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher