Bangladesh police on Monday arrested an absconding death row convict, who had escaped to Malaysia, for the gruesome murder of a secular blogger in 2013, that set off a chain of attacks targeting liberal writers in the Muslim- majority country.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP) counter-terrorism unit arrested 34-year-old Redwanul Azad Rana, a former student at the country's top North South University, and one other militant belonging to banned outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) during a raid at the capital's Uttara suburb.
"The counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit of police has arrested Rana along with an assistant militant named Ashraf during a raid," the police said in a statement.
"With Rana's arrest, all the convicts of the case are now exposed to justice," police spokesman Masudur Rahman said.
Rana was absconding since the start of his trial in the murder of secular blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death with machetes in February 2013, and was sentenced to death in his absence in December 2015, along with another former student at the same university, Faisal bin Nayem, who is in custody.
Rana could not challenge the conviction as he was on the run.
Police said Rana fled the country after the murder and took refuge in Malaysia where he was recently tracked down and arrested by the police on the basis of our information.
"They sent him back home recently but instead of arresting him on his return, we preferred to secretly follow the culprit instead of arresting him immediately for strategic purposes," Rahman said.
Haider had also started a movement demanding the highest punishment to the 1971 war-criminals just days ahead of his murder.
The gruesome day-light murder of the blogger also set off a chain of similar Islamist attacks on secular writers, civil activists, foreigners and religious minorities in the country.
In 2015, five secular bloggers were killed in separate attacks, including Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy, who was killed on a Dhaka street by a group of assailants in February 2015. His wife was also grievously injured in the attack.