Nabi was arrested in Dhaka’s Sayedabad on Sunday night and produced before a court on Monday. The court has granted the police three days to grill him.
The law enforcers claim that Nabi, a militant outfit Ansar Al Islam, directly took part in Nazim’s murder on Apr 6 last year in Old Dhaka’s Sutrapur.
Police’s counter-terrorism unit chief Monirul Islam on Monday told a press briefing, “Nabi and four others had taken part in that murder. All five were wielding machetes, but only one of them had a firearm.”
He claimed Nabi had served as the ‘coordinator’ of different attacks carried out by the militant group.
Apart from his role in Nazim’s killing, during preliminary questioning after his arrest, Monirul said, Nabi has also ‘admitted to his involvement in the murders of Xulhaz and his theater activist friend Mahbub Rabbi Tony’s.
“Police also have found information on his ties to the murder attempt on publisher Ahmed Rashid Tutul.” Three other suspects have already given confessional statements to the court in the case over the attempt on Tutul. Nabi has divulged the ‘organizational names’ of the four others who killed Nazim, Monirul said.
“We hope to get information regarding the two other incidents out of him when we take him on remand.” Xulhaz and Tony were killed in a machete attack by a gang of assailants, is posing as delivery men entering Xulhaz’s apartment building in Dhaka’s Kalabagan on Apr 25, 19 days after Nazim’s murder.
Xulhaz was a USAID official and the editor of Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine, ‘Roopbaan.’ Also, the murder attempt on Tutul was made at the office of Suddhaswar, the publishing house he owns, at Lalmatia on Oct 31 last year.
On the same day, publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan was found dead in a pool of blood, hacked to death in his Jagriti Prokashony office at Shahbagh’s Aziz Super Market.
Several writers, bloggers, and online activists were murdered in similar attacks last year. Following those, the biggest militant attack occurred at Gulshan’s Holey Artisan Bakery and O’ Kitchen on July 1 this year. The militants had killed 22 people, including 17 foreigners. But since then, after several successful raids by the security forces, no attacks have taken place in the country.
‘Militants tracked Nazim’ The militants had singled out Nazimuddin Samad and planned to kill him after observing his posts on Facebook; detective officer Monirul Islam said on Monday, quoting Ansar Al Islam’s Nabi. And then, he said, they rented a house adjacent to the street the online activist had frequented in Old Dhaka. Nazim lived with a friend at a house on Rajani Chowdhury Road at Gendaria. He was attacked in public and killed on Hrishikesh Das Road at Dhaka’s Sutrapur on Apr 6 when he was on his way home with a friend.
Monirul said, “The killers had conducted a recce of the area. They also rented a home behind Jagannath University to observe Nazim’s movement. The killers observed where Nazim lived and who he met with.” They followed Nazim for three months before killing him in April, he said.
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Asked why Nazim was murdered, Monirul said that Ansar Al Islam had identified the youth as an atheist for his writings. “Then information on him was gathered and handed to the militant group’s leaders.”
Nazim, 27, a Jagannath University law department’s evening course student, was the information and research secretary of the Bangabandhu Juba Parishad’s Sylhet branch and an active participant in the Ganajagaran Mancha’s movement.
He often wrote in favor of the 1971 Liberation War and critically about religious extremism, the government, and contemporary politics on Facebook. Nazim was also on the list of ‘atheist bloggers’ sent to the media during the Hifazat-e Islam movement.