Daesh rebels claim attack on Italian priest in Bangladesh

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Updated 20 November 2015
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Daesh rebels claim attack on Italian priest in Bangladesh

DHAKA: Daesh militants on Thursday claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding an Italian priest in Bangladesh this week, the latest in a spate of recent attacks on foreigners claimed by the militant network.
Piero Parolari, a priest and doctor who worked at the Suihari Catholic Mission in the northern city of Dinajpur, was shot at close range by three gunmen on a motorbike on Wednesday.
“Security detachments of soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh carried out some unique operations (including)... Targeting the Italian Crusader foreigner Piero Parolari,” the militant monitoring organization SITE quoted Daesh as saying in a message posted on Twitter.
The priest’s shooting followed the murders of an Italian faith-based aid worker in late September and a Japanese farmer last month, which were also claimed by Daesh.
A Daesh radio bulletin also quoted by SITE on Thursday said: “A Daesh cell tracked and targeted an Italian crusader missionary on his way to work... shot him multiple times, leaving him critically wounded and subsequently hospitalized.”
Bangladesh police said they had no proof who was behind Parolari’s shooting in Dinajpur, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) from the capital Dhaka.
“Unless we can find out who has actually executed the operation, we can’t say who or which group was behind the attack,” Dinajpur police chief Ruhul Amin told AFP.
The attack on the priest bore “some similarities with the previous attacks on foreigners,” who were also shot by gunmen riding on motorbikes, he added.
Aged in his 60s, Parolari has been based at Suihari Catholic Mission in Dinajpur for more than 30 years, according to another priest, Anthony Sen, who lives in the same city.
Bangladesh authorities have previously said there is no evidence that Daesh militants are active in the country.
According to SITE, Daesh on Thursday also claimed the shooting of a Baha’i community faith leader and the killing of a Sufi site chief earlier this month in Rangpur, close to where Parolari was shot.
Police officials however told AFP they believed “internal disputes” were behind the deaths of the Baha’i and Sufi leaders.


‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

Updated 25 min 35 sec ago
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‘Results’ needed from Myanmar over Rohingya return: UNHCR head

  • A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide”
  • Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers

YANGON: Myanmar must “show results” to convince Rohingya refugees to return, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Friday at the end of his first visit to Myanmar since the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
A brutal military campaign in western Rakhine state forced some 740,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.
Around one million Rohingya now languish in sprawling refugee camps from various waves of persecution.
A UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide” and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started preliminary investigations.
During his visit Grandi spoke with both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist communities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine, the epicenter of the violence.
He also held discussions with officials in capital Naypyidaw, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, describing all talks as “constructive.”
“My message is: ‘please accelerate’, because it has been very slow in the implementation in this first year. We need to show results,” he told AFP in an interview in Yangon.
“This is not enough to convince people to come back,” he said.
Grandi visited the camps in Bangladesh in April.
The two countries have signed a repatriation agreement but so far virtually no refugees have returned, fearing for their safety and unconvinced they will be granted citizenship.
Myanmar pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal interlopers and the community has had its rights eroded over decades.
Gaining independent access to northern Rakhine is difficult with most journalists, observers and diplomats only allowed on brief chaperoned visits.
Grandi defended the UNHCR’s involvement in a plan by the Bangladeshi government to move some 100,000 refugees onto low-lying island Bhashan Char.
The area in the Bay of Bengal is prone to flooding and cyclones.
Rights groups oppose the scheme that has also so far been universally rejected by the Rohingya themselves.
The refugee agency must be “involved” to have the necessary information in order to take a stance on the issue, Grandi said.
“We’re still at that stage, no more than that.”
He also visited camps near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where nearly 130,000 Rohingya have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012.
Myanmar has announced it will close the camps but many are skeptical the displaced will enjoy more freedoms.
Grandi said the UNHCR would reconsider its role in providing services if conditions did not substantially improve.
“To simply transform the camps, upgrade the camps, upgrade the houses, for example, but leave them in the same situation will not be a solution,” he said.