Outspoken atheist from Manor Park killed by suspected religious radicals in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi policeman stands guard at the spot where three motorcycle-riding assailants hacked sec

A Bangladeshi policeman stands guard at the spot where three motorcycle-riding assailants hacked secular activist Nazimuddin Samad to death as he walked with a friend, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Picture: AP/PA Wire - Credit: AP

A student activist who blogged about atheism and secularism in Bangladesh has been hacked and shot to death by suspected Islamic radicals as he was walking with a friend in Dhaka, police have said.

Police suspect 28-year-old Samad was targeted for his outspoken atheism in the Muslim majority count

Police suspect 28-year-old Samad was targeted for his outspoken atheism in the Muslim majority country. Picture: AP/PA Wire - Credit: AP

Officers believe Nazimuddin Samad, 28, whose family are understood to be from Manor Park, Newham, was targeted for the fatal attack in the nation’s capital last night as a result of his outspoken atheism in the majority Muslim country.

His attackers are thought to be three men who were riding on a single motorbike, according to police.

Mr Samad was also known to have supported a 2013 movement to demand capital punishment for war crimes involving the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

In a statement to the Associated Foreign Press, Syed Nurul Islam, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan police, said: “At least four assailants hacked Nazimuddin Samad’s head with a machete on Wednesday night.

“As he fell down, one of them shot him with a pistol from close range. He died on the spot. It is a case of targeted killing. But no group has claimed responsibility.”

Speaking to the Evening Standard, a friend of Mr Samad’s family said they were preparing to fly out to Bangladesh as soon as possible, adding: “Everything is very raw at the moment.”

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The killing follows a string of similar attacks last year, when at least five secular bloggers and publishers were killed, allegedly by radical Islamists.

• Did you know Nazimuddin Samad? Call 020 8477 3981 or email freddy.mayhew@archant.co.uk to pay tribute.

Additional reporting by PA.