The prime accused in the killing of blogger Avijit Roy was killed in a reported gunfight with detectives in the city’s Khilgaon early Sunday.
The deceased was Shariful Islam Sharif alias Hadi-1, a top leader of the military wing of banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), according to detectives who claimed that the killers of USAID worker Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend Tanoy received training from Sharif.
Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested Shihab alias Sumon alias Sakib alias Saifullah, a member of ABT, on Thursday in a case for the attempt on the life of Shuddhashwar publisher and blogger Ahmedur Rashid Tutul on 31 October last year.
Following information grilled from Shihab, DB set up a check post in Meradiya Bashpotti area under Khilgoan Police Station.
DMP Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman said Sharif and two of his accomplices were passing through the area on a motorcycle around 2:30am.
“They opened fire at DB police when the law enforcers challenged them,” he added.
In retaliation, DB police fired back and Sharif sustained bullet injuries while two others managed to flee.
Later, Sharif was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead.
A motorcycle, a pistol and two rounds of bullets were recovered from the spot.
Meanwhile, briefing reporters at DMP media centre on Sunday Joint Commissioner (DB) of DMP Abdul Baten said Sharif was identified after scrutinizing video footage, which was recorded at the Ekushey Boi Mela near TSC on February 26, 2015 -- the day blogger Avijit was hacked to death and his wife was injured.
Sharif used to provide military training as well as IT training to the ABT members, the Joint Commissioner (DB) said.
He was also reportedly involved in other killings, including those of bloggers Niladri Niloy, Washikur Rahman Babu, Nazimuddin Samad and the attempt to kill publisher Tutul and two other friends, apart from training the killers of Xulhaz Mannan and Tanoy, Baten said.
On May 19, Dhaka Metropolitan Police had announced Tk 5 lakh bounty for information on Sharif, besides five other militants each with different monetary rewards.
Avijit Roy, along with his wife Rafida Bonnya, an expatriate couple living in the USA, returned home a few days ahead of the incident as two of his books were published on the occasion of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair.