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Bangladesh: Killers of US blogger escape from crowded court on motorbikes

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Two killers of a U.S. blogger of Bangladesh origin, Avijit Roy, escaped from a crowded court on motorbikes in Bangladesh on Sunday.

Roy was killed on the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, by machete-wielding Islamist militant assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair.

His wife, blogger Rafida Bonya Ahmed, who escaped death, was left with head injuries and a lost thumb in the attack.

Five members of the attackers were consequently sentenced to death last year, while one was jailed for life.

Two of those on death row, however, escaped on Sunday, after bikers sprayed a chemical on police officers before snatching away the convicts, police said.

“A massive manhunt has been launched to capture them and their helpers,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters.

Khan added that border security officials had been put on alert to stop the men fleeing the country.

Police have also announced an award of 2 million taka (about $19,350) for tracing the convicts.

The convicted men reportedly belong to the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant group Ansar Ullah Bangla Team.

According to police authorities, the group was behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh saw a string of deadly attacks between 2013 and 2016 targeting bloggers, secular activists and religious minorities, claimed by ISIS or al Qaeda-aligned groups. Read more.

 

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