Bangladesh: Journalist killed in shoot-out between Awami League factions

Borhan Uddin Muzakkir, a journalist with Bangla Samachar and bartabazar.com, sustained a fatal bullet injury to the neck while reporting on clashes between two warring factions of the ruling Awami League (AL) on February 20. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the killing and calls for the urgent arrest of the perpetrators.

Journalist Borhan Uddin Muzakkir. Credit : The Daily Star

Muzakkir, 25, was caught up in the clashes between followers of Abdul Quader Mirza and Mizanur Rahman Badal. The clashes took place between two factions of the ruling AL over establishing supremacy in Noakhali's Companiganj upazila (administrative district). A shoot-out between the factions broke out in Chaprashirhat Purbo Bazar from 4:45pm to 7pm on February 19, injuring more than 50 people. At least nine people, including Muzakkir were hit by bullets during the clashes.

The injured journalist was taken to Noakhali General Hospital and later to the ICU of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) around 11pm on Saturday. He died at around 11:15 pm on February 20.

Journalists and human right activists in coordination with local press clubs held a protest rally and organized a human chain in front of the Noakhali Press Club on February 21 demanding arrest of the culprits.

Muzakkir is the first journalist to be killed in Bangladesh in 2021. Two journalists were killed in 2020. Elias Mia, a correspondent of Daily Bijoy, was hacked to death  on October 12 by miscreants in Narayanganj district for allegedly exposing a criminal nexus in gas line distribution, while journalistJulhas Uddin was killed in a stabbing murder on September 3.

Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) said: “BMSF condemns the incident and demands the immediate arrest of the miscreants.”

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ is deeply saddened by the killing of the Borhan Uddin Muzakkir and offers its condolences to Muzakkir’s family. The IFJ calls for urgent action to bring the perpetrators to justice.  The IFJ also asks media houses to ensure they are providing adequate safety training preparation to journalists covering civil unrest.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram