Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled out the presence of the Islamic State in Bangladesh despite the radical group claiming responsibilities for the murders of two foreigners within a week.
Assailants gunned down Japanese national Kunio Hoshi in the northern district Rangpur on Saturday five days after Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was killed in a similar way at Dhaka’s diplomatic zone Gulshan.
In a media interaction at the Ganabhaban on Sunday, Hasina said: “Until now, IS or global terror groups like it have not been able to operate in Bangladesh. Our intelligence agencies are active... we will not allow any such activities in Bangladesh.”
She, however, said Bangladesh has witnessed homegrown radicalism in the past when elements like the JMB and Bangla Bhai were promoted by those in power. "But we have taken firm action against them and curbed their activities."
The IS has reportedly claimed responsibility for the murders of the two foreigners and warned of more such attacks.
The government, however, have expressed doubts about IS' direct involvement in the murders of the Italian and the Japanese nationals.
The home minister says he suspects the murders were an attempt to ‘create instability’.
During Sunday’s briefing the prime minister blamed the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami for 'abetting' the murders to undermine Bangladesh’s achievements.