The Italian national’s murder took place two days after the Australian cricket team chose to delay its tour to Bangladesh after their government warned of possible militant attacks on “Australian interests”.
Tavella was shot dead at Gulshan-2, Dhaka’s diplomatic zone, on Monday evening.
Witnesses said they heard at least three gunshots and saw the attackers flee after Tavella fell to the ground. “He was rushed to a nearby private hospital where doctors declared him dead”, a police statement added.
Tavella, 50, who used to work as the project manager of Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (Proofs), a project of Netherlands-based organisation ICCO Cooperation, was shot thrice from behind on the footpath of Road 90 of Gulshan-2.
“One bullet hit his left hand. One of those bullets pierced through his chest”, Forensic expert Qazi Md Abu Shama was quoted as saying. One of them was wielding a gun.
Mahfuzul Alam Rasel, senior assistant commissioner of the Detective Branch of police, told Prothom Alo that the murder was pre-planned and the killers selected the spot where there was no CCTV close by.
The Islamic State said in a statement dated Monday that a “security detachment” had tracked and killed Tavella with “silenced weapons” in Dhaka, according to the SITE intelligence group’s website.
After Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. claimed to have received information that militants might target their interests in Bangladesh and advised their citizens to limit their movements in the country.