Japanese shot dead in Bangladesh; 2nd foreigner killed this week

A 66-year-old Japanese man, known for philanthropic work, was on Saturday shot dead by motorbike-borne masked assailants in Bangladesh, the second foreigner to be gunned down in a week after an Italian aid worker was killed in a near-identical attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

PTI| Updated: Oct 03, 2015, 22:38 PM IST

Dhaka: A 66-year-old Japanese man, known for philanthropic work, was on Saturday shot dead by motorbike-borne masked assailants in Bangladesh, the second foreigner to be gunned down in a week after an Italian aid worker was killed in a near-identical attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Hosi Koniyo, who was headed to an agriculture farm on the outskirts of northern Rangpur city in a rickshaw, was shot thrice in the chest, shoulder and hand by the yet-unidentified assassins.

"It appears to be a target killing as the assailants in masks shot him thrice. The Japanese gentleman died instantly," officer-in-charge of the local police station Rezaul Karim told PTI.

He said doctors declared him brought dead and body was taken to a state-run hospital in Rangpur.

"Koniyo was alone in the rickshaw. They wore masks. As he reached the scene (they) shot him in the chest, shoulder and hand and then immediately fled the scene on a motorbike," said an eyewitness.

A frequent visitor to Bangladesh, Koniyo had been in Rangpur for the past six months and was familiar in the neighbourhood because of his philanthropic work.

He had set up the farm, where he visited daily by a rickshaw, with help of a local businessman to grow grass for cattle.

Police detained the businessman, along with the rickshaw puller, Koniyo's landlord and another resident of the area, for questioning.

The Japanese national's murder came five days after 50-year-old Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was killed when motorbike-born terrorists shot him dead in Dhaka's diplomatic Gulshan area.

Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the fatal attack on Tavella. But Bangladesh government then downplayed the claim, describing it as an "isolated incident".

Security officials, either, have not ruled out that the IS could be using "local sympathisers" to carry out such attacks.

Police, who have set up check posts to track down the

killers of Bangladesh-born Koniyo, are yet to identify any motive for the murder.

Today, Bangladesh government sought to allay security concerns of foreign nationals after the second killing in a week, saying it was taking both murders "very seriously".

"Whoever is involved with the killings will be identified and brought to book," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said.

Bangladesh, a secular country with a predominantly Muslim population, has been struggling to curb the rise of violence by hardline Islamist groups. It has banned several groups that have been blamed for killing four bloggers, including an American citizen of Bangladesh origin, this year.

Australia, Britain and the US have issued advisories for their nationals intending to or on visit to Bangladesh, following the Italian aid worker's death.

The Australian cricket team has also postponed their planned Dhaka tour over security concerns.