05/08/2016 9:56 PM IST | Updated 05/08/2016 10:08 PM IST

5 Killers Identified In Gay Magazine Editor's Murder In Bangladesh

The incident was part of a series of killings of intellectuals in the country.

NurPhoto via Getty Images
Bangladesh Student Union arranged a torch procession to protest against the killing of bloggers, writers, teachers and editors in Dhaka on 26 April 2016. (Photo by Mohammad Ponir Hossain/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Five killers have been identified in the hacking to death of Bangladesh's first gay magazine editor and his friend in Dhaka in a gruesome machete attack, following leads from an arrested militant from a banned terror group in the high-profile case, a media report said today.

Detectives are trying to arrest these five individuals who investigators have identified as taking part in the 25 April killing of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy, an official of the Detective Branch (DB) told requesting anonymity.

"Police have gathered information on the killers after arresting and interrogating members of Ansar Al Islam (a militant outfit which claims to be the Bangladesh affiliate of al-Qaeda) on various occasions. Then they identified the killers of Mannan and Tonoy," said the DB official.

"The killers are in the country. The effort to arrest them is ongoing."

Bahauddin Faruki, the DB officer in charge of the case's investigation, said the police have received some information on the murders after the arrest of Shariful Islam alias Shihab, a member of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, on 15 May.

"Shihab supplied weapons to the killers. We got some important information after he was remanded twice in custody. He is now in prison," he said.

Mannan, 35, editor of a magazine for Bangladesh's gay and lesbian community, and 25-year-old fellow activist Tonoy were hacked to death by up to seven attackers carrying machetes and guns after entering their apartment in Dhaka posing as delivery men.

Xulhaz was a US embassy staff and a leading campaigner for LGBT rights. He was also the editor of Bangladesh's first LGBT magazine Roopbaan.

Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for the killings that took place amid a series of murders of intellectuals, writers and minorities in the Muslim-majority nation.

The US had condemned the killings of Tonoy and Mannan, who worked for the US government aid organisation USAID.

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