POLICE in Bangladesh said on Tuesday (5) security forces may have shot dead a hostage by mistake during a siege of a Dhaka cafe on Saturday (2), believing he was one of the attackers.
Saiful Islam, a senior police official in Dhaka, said Saiful Islam Chowkidar, a pizza maker at the Holey Artisan restaurant, was among six men who were killed by the police on Saturday when
officers stormed the eatery to end a 12-hour siege.
His comments came as police hunted on Tuesday (5) for members of a domestic Islamist group they suspect helped the gunmen attack a Dhaka cafe, with officials questioning families as to what turned them into killers.
An official of the ruling Awami League party, meanwhile, spoke on Tuesday of his horror to learn his son was among suspected gunmen who murdered foreigners at the cafe, and said many young men from wealthy, educated families were going missing.
Imtiaz Khan Babul said his 22-year old son Rohan Imtiaz, who was killed when commandos stormed the cafe, had been a top-scoring student whose behaviour gave no hint he was radicalised
before he disappeared last December.
“I was stunned and speechless to learn that my son had done such a heinous thing,” a tearful Babul said.
“I don’t know what changed him. There was nothing that would suggest that he was getting radicalised. He hardly read any religious books.”
Babul said had not seen his son since travelling to India in December with his maths teacher wife, leaving the couple’s three children in Dhaka.
Late last Friday (1), gunmen stormed the restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone and killed 20, mostly foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US, in an assault claimed by Islamic State (Daesh).
It was one of the deadliest militant attacks in Bangladesh, where Daesh and al-Qaeda have claimed a series of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in the past year. The government has dismissed those claims.
Police believe that Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an outlawed domestic group that has pledged allegiance to Daesh, played a key role in organising the band of privileged, educated
young men who carried out the attack.