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Ruling party deputy shot dead in Bangladesh

Masked men have shot a Bangladeshi parliament member at close range after breaking into his house, according to witnesses. The politician was a critic of religious extremism, but also under investigation for a shooting.

The 48-year-old Manjurul Islam Liton, from the ruling Awami League, was killed in his home village in north Bangladesh, officials said on Sunday.

Awami League's General Secretary Obaidul Quader described the incident as a "cowardly" murder and the likely work of the "sectarian forces" in the dominantly Muslim country ruled by a moderate government.

"The state will make sure that religious extremists will pay a high price for this crime," Quader said.

Motive unclear

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At least three attackers entered Liton's home and shot him at close range, police said, citing witnesses.

"They fired at him three times, with two bullets hitting him near his chest. He died after being taken to a hospital in the (northern city of) Rangpur," deputy police chief Robiul Islam said.

The attackers fled immediately and the police had no indication of motive, he added.

Liton was an outspoken critic of Islamist extremists in a country troubled by religious violence, where dozens of well-known bloggers and activists have been brutally murdered by jihadists groups.

At the same time, he was suspected of seriously wounding a nine-year-old boy in 2015. The boy was reportedly walking with his uncle when the MP drove past and called the man over. The uncle did not respond, apparently making Liton angry. According to some reports, Liton pulled his gun and fired at the man, hitting the child by mistake.

He was later released on bail. The shooting sparked protests in the capital Dhaka, and police was still investigating the incident.

dj/rc (AP, AFP)

 

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