TAVELLA MURDER : Quayum’s brother missing after abduction

David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid

Brother of former BNP ward commissioner MA Quayum, alleged by the home minister to be a mastermind behind the killing of Italian citizen Cesare Tavella, went missing after being forced into a microbus by civil dressed men two weeks ago, family and witnesses said.
Badda police station officer-in-charge MA Jalil confirmed to New Age that a general diary was filed with the police station on October
27 by a family member stating that Quayum’s brother MA Matin went missing on October 20.
Local shop-keepers and other witnesses said that the men who took Quayum’s brother MA Matin that day were not carrying arms and there were no identifying marks on the vehicle.
They, however, assumed that law enforcement officials were involved in the incident.
‘Whether they were police, DB [Detective Branch], or RAB [Rapid Action Battalion] I don’t know…but who else other than law enforcement people could have taken him like that,’ witness Amir Hossain said.
Law enforcement officials, however, denied that Matin, aged about 50 years, was in their custody. Dhaka Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner (media and public relations) Muntasirul Islam and Rapid Action Battalion legal and media wing director Mufti Mahmud Khan said that they had ‘no information about the arrest of MA Matin.’
On October 29, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told journalists that Quayum, a BNP ward commissioner at Badda, was the ‘Bara Bhai’ who had hired the four men who allegedly killed Tavella.
A day later, the minister corrected himself saying that Quayum was ‘one of’ the top suspects.
Quayum has denied any involvement in the killing and said by phone from Malaysia that he had been abroad for the past six months and was being framed by the police.
‘I have information that police have already threatened my brother that they will kill him in a “crossfire” if he does not give a confessional statement that I have sent him money to carry out the killing,’ he is reported to have told a national daily.
Last week, New Age reported that the four men, who were presented to the media on October 25 and accused of killing the Italian aid worker, were in fact detained by law enforcement officials between 10 to 15 days earlier.
According to the constitution, any person must be produced before a court in 24 hours after his/her arrest or detention.
On October 20, Matin left his house at about 7:30pm to go for Isha prayers at a local mosque. He stopped at the end of the road and had a quick chat with corner-shop owner Rabiul Islam Prince.
‘Matin bhai told me that he was building a security gate at the end of the road for greater personal security,’ Rabiul said.
A man then came up and led Matin away in the direction of a microbus parked about 10 metres away in front of the shop adjacent to Rabiul.
‘The man told Matin, “Come with me”, but I did not hear anything else…I assumed that he must be Matin’s friend,’ the shop keeper said.
Another local person, a driver, Amir Hossain, said that he was also standing at the corner.
‘When this person approached and said, “Come with me”, two men came out of the parked microbus and he was then pushed in to the vehicle,’ Amir said.
Abul Hossain, the owner of the shop where the microbus was parked, said, ‘The microbus had been parked there for only a few minutes.’
He said, ‘Two men from the microbus pushed him in, and closed the door. It happened so quickly that no one had time to react.’
Locals said that Matin did not cry out.

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