There have been reports that an al-Qaeda affiliate group in Bangladesh claimed responsibility for the recent gruesome machete killing of student and secular blogger, Nazimuddin Samad. However, the country's home minister confirmed that these reports are false, citing home-grown militants as the true suspects of the crime.
According to the jihadist monitoring group SITE, Ansar al-Islam, which is the Bangladesh division of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), published an online statement last Friday saying that machete-wielding militants from the group were the ones responsible for perpetrating the murder.
The horrendous assassination was done in an act of "vengeance," the group was reported to have said. It claimed that the 28-year-old Samad vilified their "God, the Prophet Muhammad, and the Islamic religion."
"This operation was conducted to teach a lesson to the blasphemers of this land whose poisonous tongues are constantly abusing Allah, the religion of Islam and the Messenger under the pretext of so-called freedom of speech," the statement said, as quoted by the Business Insider.
However, according to CNN, Bangladesh home minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, affirmed that home-grown militants, not members of Ansar al-Islam, assassinated the student.
Currently, security officials are investigating two to three possible suspects that may be involved with the death of Samad. Khan noted that these identified individuals have not been arrested yet, as officials are still gathering more information.
The death of Samad is the sixth time in a span of 14 months that a Bangladesh secular writer was killed. These killings have been viewed by many as religion-motivated violence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her administration have continuously denied claims of foreign terror groups such as al Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to have infiltrated the South Asian country. They have pointed to local Bangladeshi Islamic radicals as the ones responsible for the murders of many secular writers over the past year.