By Mainul Islam Khan
DHAKA (AA) – The Bangladeshi government has issued a "red alert" on six militants it believes are responsible for the recent murder of bloggers and secular activists.
Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal made the announcement on Friday after police received fresh information and released photos of the six suspects.
Earlier, police had offered a reward of 1.8 million Bangladeshi takas (roughly $23,000) for information leading to the suspects’ arrest.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Maruf Hossain has said the militants were members of the banned Ansarullah Bangla Team.
The authorities say they are stepping up efforts to find and arrest those responsible for the recent murder of secular-leaning bloggers, publishers and writers.
On April 25, gay rights activist Xulhas Mannan and his friend were murdered in their Dhaka apartment in a machete attack.
Mannan had worked for USAID and had also been an editor of pro-LGBT magazine "Roopbaan".
Two days earlier, Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, a professor at the University of Rajshahi north of Bangladesh was similarly hacked to death with machetes while on his way to his university.
And on April 6, law student and online activist Nazimuddin Samad was likewise killed in a machete and shooting attack.
The attacks, the tempo of which appears to have increased in recent weeks, follow the same pattern as those seen in earlier machete killings that have targeted secular-leaning writers and intellectuals and religious minorities.