A Bangladeshi LGBT rights activist has been hacked to death by suspected Islamic States militants along with his friend in the same apartment in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, on Monday.
According to NBC News, the suspects were armed with knives. Xulhaz Mannan, 35, was employed by the United States Embassy and also worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “We don’t know the motivation here … nobody has claimed responsibility for this,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We do know is that he was a staunch defender of LGBT rights.” Kirby did not confirm the identity of the other person killed in the incident.
A local detective told NBC News that an attacker entered the building as a delivery driver and hacked the two to death.
The murder of the two took place just two days after a university professor was discovered dead in a similar manner on Saturday. The attack was claimed by the IS militants. Dhaka police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sardar claimed that around five or six killers entered the apartment to murder the two. Mannan was also an editor of Rupban, the first Bangladeshi magazine focused on the LGBT community. According to Channel News Asia, the suspects also injured a security guard. The witnesses said that they shouted “Allahu Akbar” while leaving the scene, which meant “God is greatest.”
US ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat stated that Xulhaz was more a friend than a colleague to him at the US Embassy. The White House also condemned the death of the LGBT community activists and called him the “voice for justice, equality and human rights for all.”
“Mr. Mannan set an example of dignity, courage and selflessness, and his legacy will live on in the causes he championed,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Bangladesh has been under the threat of violent attacks these days. The main targets of the attackers are liberal activists, minority Muslim members, and people belonging to other religions.