Bangladesh Police Make Arrest in Hacking Death of Gay Rights Activist

Image: Bangladesh activist Xulhaz Mannan
Bangladesh activist Xulhaz Mannan.STR / AFP - Getty Images

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By The Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Police in Bangladesh say they have arrested a suspected Islamist militant for his alleged involvement in the hacking death last month of a gay rights activist and his friend in the capital Dhaka.

Police identified the suspect as Shariful Islam Shibab, a former member of a banned Islamic group Harkatul Jihad who joined another militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team, in mid-2015.

Bangladesh activist Xulhaz Mannan.STR / AFP - Getty Images

Munirul Islam, head of a newly-formed police counterterrorism unit, told a news conference on Sunday that Shibab was arrested in the southwestern district of Kushtia based on evidence from the investigation.

The Bangladeshi branch of Al Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the April 25 killing of Xulhaz Mannan, an employee of U.S. Agency for International Development, and his friend, Tanay Majumder.

"Xulhaz was more than a colleague to those of us fortunate to work with him at the U.S. Embassy," Marcia Bernicat, the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, said in a statement after his death. "He was a dear friend. Our prayers are with Xulhaz, the other victim, and those injured in the attack."

Related: Gay Activist, Friend Hacked to Death in Latest Attack