Bangladesh: Hindu priest hacked to death while preparing morning prayers

A Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh on Friday, the latest in a spate of violent killings in the country.

Dozens of people have been killed over the last three years by Islamist extremists in Bangladesh.Mostaque Chowdhury/ Wikimedia Commons

Shaymanonda Das, 45, was killed in front of a temple in Jhinaidah district headquarter, 300km south west of the capital Dhaka.

Police said they do not know the motive behind the killing, and no one has been arrested.

"He [Das] was preparing morning prayers with flowers at the temple early in the morning and that time three young people came by a motor bike and killed him with machetes and fled away," Mahbubur Rahman, the chief of Jhenaidah district administration, told Reuters.

"The nature of killing was similar with the local militants, but we can not say more at the moment."

As many as 40 people have been killed over the last three years by Islamist extremists in Bangladesh, either members of religious minorities or secularist activists. While responsibility for the majority of the killings has been claimed by Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, the government has denied that either group is active in the country, blaming home-grown extremists instead.

The targeting of Christians in Bangladesh has been branded a "campaign of destruction carried out by local Islamic fundamentalists" by persecution charity Open Doors.

Earlier this month, police in Bangladesh arrested more than 5,000 suspected militants.

"It may take time, but God willing, we will be able to bring them under control," Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said.

"Where will the criminals hide? Each and every killer will be brought to book."

Additional reporting by Reuters.