Bangladeshi Gay Activist, Friend Hacked to Death in Latest Attack

by Wajahat S. Khan and Corky
Siemaszko, nbcnews,
April 26, 2016.

Suspected Islamist militants armed
with knives hacked a Bangladeshi gay activist and his friend to death

The activist, Xulhaz Mannan, also
worked for United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
and “was affiliated with the U.S. Embassy,” said State
Department spokesman John Kirby.
“We don’t know the motivation
here … nobody has claimed responsibility for this,” Kirby
said. “We do know is that he was a staunch defender of LGBT
Kirby did not identify the man who
died with Mannan in the “barbaric attack.”

“Xulhaz was more than a colleague
to those of us fortunate to work with him at the U.S. Embassy,”
Marcia Bernicat, the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, said earlier in a
statement. “He was a dear friend. Our prayers are with Xulhaz,
the other victim, and those injured in the attack.”

The White House also condemned the
murder of Mannan, calling him “a voice for justice, equality,
and human rights for all.
Mr. Mannan set an example of
dignity, courage and selflessness, and his legacy will live on in the
causes he championed,” Ned Price, spokesman for the National
Security Council, said in a statement.

Mannan worked as a protocol specialist
at the U.S. embassy for eight years before joining USAID last
September, where he worked “tirelessly to support organizations
focused on broadening and deepening political understanding
throughout Bangladesh.”

“He was the kind of person
willing to fight for what he believed in, someone ready to stand up
for his own rights and the rights of others,” USAID said in a

Mannan, 35, was also the editor of
Roopbaan, the conservative Muslim country’s only LGBT-oriented
magazine. He is survived by his mother, his brother, and “friends
in Bangladesh and around the world,” USAID said.

The activist was murdered two days
after a
university professor was killed in a similar fashion in an attack

claimed by ISIS.
Mannan was lured to his death by an
attacker posing as delivery driver who summoned him to the entrance
of his building in Dhaka, a local Bangladeshi detective on the case
told NBC News.

When Mannan and his friend arrived,
five other men rushed out and attacked them, he said. 

At least one of
the guards assigned to the building were injured when they tried to

Bangladesh has seen a surge in violent
attacks over the past few months that targeted liberal activists,
members of minority Muslim sects, and other members of other
religious groups.