Extremists didn’t kill Prof Shafiul, says RAB

Bangladeshi authorities said the killing of a university professor this month wasn’t an assassination by an extremist group as had been previously thought.

The Rapid Action Battalion, an elite police unit, announced over the weekend that revenge was the motive behind the stabbing death of Shafiul Islam, a professor of sociology at the University of Rajshahi, on Nov. 15.

prof shaifiulA group of men have confessed to killing Mr. Islam in retaliation for allegedly insulting the wife of one of the men, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a commander and spokesman for the unit said Sunday.

“A total of 11 people were involved in this crime,” Cmdr. Khan said. “We have arrested the main suspects, and we will catch the others.”

The 51-year-old professor was hacked to death near his house on campus, shocking the country and leading to calls for tighter security at universities. Last week, another university in northern Bangladesh was temporarily closed after a student died during a clash between two factions of the student wing of the ruling Awami League.

Shortly after Mr. Islam’s killing in Rajshahi, a self-proclaimed militant group calling itself “Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh-2” set up a Facebook page to claim responsibility, giving rise to speculation that radical Islamists might have targeted the professor, who was a follower of the humanist Lalon sect.

At the time, some security analysts suggested the Facebook page may have been set up to divert attention from the true motive for the killing.

Cmdr. Khan of the Rapid Action Battalion said detectives have found no evidence of a militant link to the crime.

Cmdr. Khan said Abdus Samad, an influential local contractor, had an altercation with Mr. Islam after the latter allegedly insulted Mr. Samad’s wife, a university employee. Mr. Samad admitted to gathering a group together to attack Mr. Islam, but claimed they had not planned on killing him, according to Cmdr. Khan.

Mr. Samad is among six men arrested Sunday by the Rapid Action Battalion for alleged ties to the murder. He remains in custody and couldn’t be reached to comment. He doesn’t yet have a lawyer on record. His wife also couldn’t be reached to comment.

-Wall Street Journal