Unidentified assailants shot dead a prominent writer and publisher in central Bangladesh’s Munshiganj district on Monday, the Dhaka Tribune reported. Five motorcycle-borne men dragged 60-year-old Shahzahan Bachchu out of a shop before shooting him in his village of Kakaldi.

No group has claimed responsibility for the murder yet.

Bachchu was an outspoken proponent of secular principles and owned the publishing house Bishaka Prokashoni. Munshiganj Superintendent of Police Jayedul Alam told the Dhaka Tribune that Bachchu was visiting his friends at a pharmacy store in the village.

The attackers detonated a crude bomb outside the pharmacy and dragged Bachchu out of the store during the ensuing chaos, the officer said. “That is what we know so far,” Alam said. “Because they were on motorcycles, police have set up checkpoints on the roads. No one has been detained so far.”

The victim was the former general secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh’s Munshiganj district. “The shocking news today of Shahzahan Bachchu’s murder is a grim reminder that the severe threat to individuals who express dissident views in Bangladesh remains unacceptably high,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America.

Attacks in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been hit by a spate of attacks against religious minorities, bloggers, foreigners, LGBT activists and other intellectuals since 2013.

Several bloggers have also been targeted. In 2015, blogger Niloy Neel, who espoused atheist views, was hacked to death in his home in Dhaka. Months before this, Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered in Sylhet, Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman were killed in in Dhaka, while Rafida Ahmed Bonya survived with serious injuries. Militant groups have claimed responsibility for most of the killings.

In 2016, a university professor was murdered near his home in Rajshahi, a senior editor of the country’s first LGBT magazine Roopban was hacked to death, a 70-year-old Buddhist monk was found murdered inside a monastery, and a Christian businessman and the wife of a senior policeman were killed a few hours apart in June.

More recently, one of Bangladesh’s top writers and secular activist Zafar Iqbal was stabbed in his head during a seminar in the northern city of Sylhet in March.