18/08/2015 1:20 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Bangladesh Arrests Mastermind Of Blogger Murders

MUNIR UZ ZAMAN via Getty Images
A Bangladeshi social activist pays his last respects to slain US blogger of Bangladeshi origin and founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site, Avijit Roy in Dhaka on March 6, 2015 after he was hacked to death by unidentified assailants in the Bangladeshi capital on February 26. An FBI team has arrived in Dhaka to help investigate the American-Bangladeshi writers gruesome killing. AFP PHOTO / Munir uz ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

DHAKA -- Three militants of an al Qaeda-linked banned Islamic extremist outfit have been arrested in Bangladesh, including the mastermind of the murders of two prominent secular bloggers in the country this year.

The three militants of Ansarullah Bangla Team were arrested last night from Dhanmondi and Nilkhet areas, Major Maksudul Alam, deputy director for Rapid Action Battalion's (Rab) legal and media wing, said.

The three were identified as Touhidul Islam, the mastermind of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das killings, and group's active members Sadek Ali and Aminul Mollik, The Daily Star reported.

Ansarullah Bangla Team, Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent, was banned in May over a spate of killings of bloggers.

Assailants in February had killed 45-year-old Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, here while his wife narrowly escaped the attack.

Machete-wielding masked men in May hacked to death 33-year-old Das.

Apart from Roy and Das, two other bloggers killed this year are Niloy Chakrabarty Neel and Washiqur Rahman.

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