Italy agrees Islamic State didn’t murder Cesare Tavella, says Home Minister Kamal


“Primary investigations have negated the involvement of IS in this case,” he told reporters after meeting Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Mario Palma on Wednesday afternoon.

“Italy too agrees there is no IS connection in Tavella’s murder.”

The IS had claimed responsibility for gunning down Tavella on Monday evening at Gulshan-2’s Road 90, the heart of Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave, said SITE Intelligence Group that monitors online jihadist threats.

Tavella’s murder happened only two days after the Australian cricket team decided to delay its tour to Bangladesh after their government warned of possible militant attacks on ‘Australian interests’.

After Australia, the UK and the US claimed to have received information that militants might target their interests in Bangladesh and advised their citizens to limit their movements in the country.​

Dhaka Medical College and Hospital’s forensic department Assistant Professor Qazi Md Abu Shama, who conducted the autopsy on Tuesday, said Tavella was shot thrice from behind at close range.

The Italian was the project manager of Profitable Opportunities for Food Security, a programme of ICCO Cooperation, a Netherlands-based NGO.

After the meeting with Mario Palma at the home ministry, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the Italian envoy had ‘praised’ Bangladesh government’s steps taken after Tavella’s murder.

“He (Palma) said they are also looking into whether the NGO official had any professional or other enmities with anyone. We are moving forward considering all sides.”

Kamal said, “We had an open discussion with the Italian ambassador. He told us of their suspicions while we informed him of ours. He was in agreement with us.”

He added that like Bangladesh’s law-enforcing agencies Italy too did not find any connection between the murder and Islamic State. “They have told us that they were unable to find any link.”

The minister said several Italian journalists had accompanied the ambassador during the meeting. “We told them that IS members do exist in this country. People of this country are religious, not fanatics.”

Regarding the progress of the investigation, Kamal said, “We’ve collected some video footage (from CCTV cameras) of that area. But they are not very clear.”

“The incident took place between 6:15pm and 6:30pm. It was already dark by then. Also, not all city corporation streetlamps were on at the time.”

Witnesses of the murder had also told that the streetlamps near the High Commission of Pakistan and Bangladesh Bank governor’s residence were off when Tavella was gunned down there.

They said there were three assailants who fled on a motorcycle. One of them was carrying the gun with which the Italian was shot thrice.

The home minister on Wednesday said it was ‘sad’ how embassies of several countries in Bangladesh had issued warning for their citizens and told them to limit movements.

“We didn’t expect the embassies to issue red alerts. This is not the situation for such measure.”

However, police in all districts were ordered to prioritise security to the foreigners as a precaution, he added.

The Detective Branch of police was on Tuesday night asked to lead the investigation into the Italian aid worker’s murder.

Police also formed another investigation committee to look into the killing. Two more supporting teams will assist it.

Source: Bd nrws24

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