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Bangladesh professor hacked to death

Unidentified assailants have stabbed a university professor to death in northwestern Bangladesh. The killing is the latest in a string of attacks on liberal activists and intellectuals in the Muslim majority country.

English professor Rezaul Karim Siddique was attacked with machetes near his home in the city of Rajshahi, police said. Officers reported that up to three individuals rode up on a motorcycle and ambushed the 58-year-old early Saturday, hacking him to death.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killing, although Nahidul Islam, a deputy commissioner of police, told news agency AFP it resembled previous assaults by Islamist militants.

"The attack is similar to the ones carried out on (atheist) bloggers in the recent past," he said.

Spate of killings

The country of 160 million has seen a surge in violent attacks on liberal activists over the past few years. In 2015, at least five secular bloggers and a publisher were murdered in alleged Islamist militant attacks. In the most recent incident, law student Nazimuddin Samad, who wrote against religious extremism on Facebook, was attacked with a machete and then shot dead in Dhaka earlier this month.

Deputy Police Commissioner Islam said Siddique was involved in a number of cultural programs, and had set up a music school at Bagmara - a former stronghold of outlawed Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

Sakhawat Hossain, a fellow English professor from the university, said the slain teacher played the Tanpura, a musical instrument popular in South Asia, and wrote poems and short stories.

Police said Siddique was the fourth professor from state-run Rajshahi University to have been murdered in recent years.

Watch video 06:26

Bangladesh: Bloggers combating religious extremists

nm/se (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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