An Italian veterinarian working for the international development agency ICCO Cooperation was shot to death Monday in Bangladesh, possibly by members of the jihadist group Islamic State.
Cesare Tavella, 51, was jogging in the capital, Dhaka, when three men drove up on a motorcycle and one shot him three times in what a police official called a “preplanned murder.” The men then escaped on the motorcycle.
Islamic State’s involvement was not confirmed, but news reports indicated that the group claimed responsibility, calling Dr. Tavella a “crusader.”
Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country that has had few problems with militant groups.
ICCO Cooperation, a Dutch-based church cooperative, said Tavella was the program manager for a “large-scaled project focusing on food security and economic development for people living in rural areas in Bangladesh.” The organization stated that it was “deeply saddened by the shocking news of the death of our dear colleague Cesare Tavella.”
“Cesare was a hard-working professional, committed to help the people of Bangladesh,” the group added. “He was respected and loved by all his team members in the country office and field offices around the country.”
Tavella’s profile on Couchsurfing, a website that help travelers find in-home accommodations, indicated that he was “curious to discover this great world we have and its [people].”
“My time here is too short not to try and enjoy it as much as possible, in a healthy and positive way,” he wrote.
He identified himself as “a veterinary surgeon and a relief worker since the ’90s” and said he was fluent in Italian, English and French.