ITALIAN AID WORKER KILLING : No clue to murder

Committee, team formed for investigation, AEEA closed until further notice

Staff Correspondent
Criminal Investigation Department members inspect the house of slain Italian citizen Cesare Tavella at Gulshan in the capital on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Criminal Investigation Department members inspect the house of slain Italian citizen Cesare Tavella at Gulshan in the capital on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Law enforcers could arrest no suspect and find out no clue to the killing of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella, while the police headquarters on Tuesday instituted a committee and a special team for the investigation into the murder.
‘Motive for the killing is not clear, but it is a premeditated killing…No valuables including his cell-phone were lost,’ said Gulshan police sub-inspector Shabbir Ahmed, also the investigation officer of the case filed by former Dutch diplomat Heleen Saaf van der Beek, who leads Interchurch Cooperative for Development Cooperation, where Cesare Tavella was working.
On Monday evening, miscreants shot dead the 51-year-old aid worker beside the boundary wall of the official residence of Bangladesh Bank governor on road-90 which close to different foreign missions and residences of diplomats of Australia, India, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arab.
Dhaka Medical College forensic department assistant professor Kazi Md Abu Shama, who guided the post mortem examination, said
that the victim three bullets hit the victim and those were ‘distance shots.’
A morgue assistant said that one bullet passed through the left hand and two hit in the back.
‘We recovered one pellet from his body and handed it over to the police investigator,’ said Kazi Md Abu Shama, adding ‘It suggested that these bullets were fired from a revolver.’
Gulshan police assistant commissioner Rafiqul Islam, however, said they were not sure what type of gun was used but it was 7.65mm cartridge.
Governor’s house security guard Azizul Islam said that he saw the victim running some 5 metres after sustaining bullet injuries and asked to help. ‘He sat down on the ground.’
Separate teams of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Rapid Action Battalion were seen working to find out clues to the murder.
On Tuesday, police visited to the rented house of Cesare. The police seized two laptops and two dongles from the house.
The detectives were analysing CCTV footage collected from nearby offices and Saudi embassy but none of them suggested any suspicious movement of the killers.
They were also analysing his phone call records and his previous movements since he arrived in Dhaka in May.
‘He used to walk regularly both in the morning and in the evening in the Gulshan area only,’ an investigator said, adding, ‘It is not clear why he went to Road 90 in the evening.’
Another investigator, who was in team to collect CCTV footage from nearby installations, said that they found no CCTV camera facing the crime scene.
Netherlands-based Interchurch Cooperative for Development Cooperation said Cesare was working as their project manager for Profitable Opportunities for Food Security based at their office location at Gulshan.
Its country chief Heleen Saaf van der Beek filed the murder case with Gulshan police station on Monday night.
In the complaint, Heleen said that at about 8:15pm the police informed them over telephone that Cesare Tavella was shot on the street at Gulshan-2 at approximately 6:15pm.
‘According to the police, he was injured and died later at the hospital,’ said Heleen in the complaint.
The police headquarters, at a meeting chaired by acting inspector general of police Moklesur Rahman, instituted an investigation committee led by Dhaka Metropolitan Police joint commissioner (Detective Branch) Monirul Islam for the investigation.
The meeting also formed a special team of skilled officials selected from different agencies and the team led by Criminal Investigation Department’s special superintendent Rezaul Haider to assist the investigation committee, said an official release.
Moklesur Rahman said ‘We took the incident as a challenge.’
The authorities deployed additional law enforcers for diplomatic enclave in Gulshan and Baridhara.
Police on Monday found an identity card of Cesare that suggested his affiliation with American International School at Baridhara. The school was closed on Tuesday.
When approached on email, superintendent of the school John Gates declined to comment. Its website said the school would remain open today.
The American Embassy Employees’ Association in an email on Tuesday said, ‘Due to unavoidable circumstances the AEEA remains closed until further notice.’
The association provides club services, among others, to its employees.
European Union ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon also expressed deep concern following the assassination of Italian aid worker and called for immediate probe into it.
British high commissioner Robert W Gibson said that he was dismayed to learn of the violent murder of Cesare Tavella.
‘It was a horrifying and cowardly crime against an aid worker working for the people of Bangladesh, helping the most vulnerable…’
As per precautionary measure, embassies of different countries, including Italy, Canada, United States and United Kingdom, called upon all the fellow countrymen to avoid places hotels, restaurants, clubs, international schools and events.
Until Tuesday evening, the body was kept at the Dhaka Medical College mortuary.
US monitoring organisation SITE Intelligence Group said a communiqué by Islamic State claimed that ‘a security detachment’ tracked and killed Cesare with ‘silenced weapons’, according to Agence France-Presse.
SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) is a for-profit US-based consultancy group that monitors and tracks the activities of ‘international terrorists and the global jihadist network.’
‘The responsibility for the murder claimed by ISIS is yet to be verified,’ the Italian embassy said in message posted on its website.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan also rejected the IS claim.
Such claim has no ground, he told reporters at the ministry, adding that intelligence agencies were yet to find any basis of such claim.
He said that local experts were still examining the website and the claim.
On March 6, 2012, Khalaf Al Ali, 45, an official at the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka, was shot dead near his Gulshan house. Five people were sentenced to death for the murder.

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