Bangladesh terrorist siege victims

July 3, 2016 8:30 pm

The
facade of Rome’s Campidoglio Capitol Hill is lit with the colors of the
Italian flag, in Rome following the deaths of nine Italians in the
shootings. Photo / AP

The deaths in the militant attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh were at once random, and not so random.
The 20 hostages who died in the siege had reasons to be in the developing South Asian nation.
They
were construction consultants from Japan, working on a Japanese
government-funded infrastructure project. They were Italian business
people in textiles, a major industry in a country that is a center for
low-cost production. They were two students from an American university
who had ties to Bangladesh.
Their lives intersected at the
western-style restaurant at Holey Artisan Bakery, a popular hangout for
the relatively well-heeled in the Gulshan diplomatic enclave in Dhaka,
the capital of Bangladesh.
By the morning, after security forces stormed the restaurant to end a 10-hour siege, they were dead.
The
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had
targeted citizens of what it called “Crusader countries.” Their stories
paint a portrait of innocent lives lost in the world’s latest militant
attack.

CONSULTANTS FROM JAPAN

Dhaka, a city of
7 million, has some serious traffic congestion, so it’s no surprise
that transport is a key area of Japanese government aid in Bangladesh.
The
work brought together eight technical experts, from three Tokyo-based
consulting firms, who were eating together when the attack began at 9.20
pm. Two women and five men died. Only one made it out alive.

People light candles during a protest in
Kolkata against a fatal attack on a restaurant in the Bangladeshi
capital Dhaka. Photo / Getty

Tomaoki Watanabe, who was hospitalised after being
shot, was one of four employees from ALMEC, a transportation consultancy
with offices in Manila, Hanoi, Jakarta and Ulan Bator, according to its
website. The other three – Yuko Sakai, Rui Shimodaira and Makoto
Okamura – perished.
Okamura’s father, Komakichi Okamura, told
Japanese media outside his home today that his 32-year-old son’s death
“is unbearable as a parent.” He recalled their last words: “He said, ‘I
am leaving now.’ and I said to him to be careful. That was the last
conversation I had with him on the telephone.”
Another victim,
Koyo Ogasawara, worked for Katahira & Engineers International, a
transportation consultancy that has worked on projects in Southeast
Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The other three were working for
Oriental Consultants Global, which is part of a Japanese project to
build three bridges for the widening of the national highway from Dhaka
to Chittagong. Two of them have been identified as Nobuhiro Kurosaki and
Hiroshi Tanaka.
“We feel very indignant toward the perpetrators,
because these people were working hard for the development of
Bangladesh,” said Shinichi Kitaoka, the president of the Japan
International Cooperation Agency. He pledged to strengthen security
precautions while continuing to contribute to the country’s development.

STUDENTS FROM AMERICA

The
attack reached halfway around the world to the southeastern US state of
Georgia, where Emory University said two of its students were among the
victims.
One, Faraaz Hossain, came from Dhaka, and the other,
Abinta Kabir, was from Miami, Florida, and visiting family and friends
in Bangladesh.
“We are honestly shocked,” said fellow student
Kereisha Harrell, 20. “A lot of us are not ready to talk about it. But
we were a family. It hit us hard. There are a lot of people very upset.
We’re just trying to support each other through this.”
Kabir was
entering Emory’s Oxford College as a sophomore, and Hossain was a
graduate of Oxford College and a student at the university’s Goizueta
Business School in Atlanta.
Both were active on the Student
Activities Committee executive board, and Harrell said they were also
part of an honor society that required a GPA of 3.9 or higher.
“The
Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss of two members of
our university family,” the university said in a statement.

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