Dhaka: Two secular bloggers and the publisher of an atheist writer killed earlier this year by suspected Islamists were attacked Saturday in Dhaka, police and activists said.

The three are the latest victims in a series of attacks against the country’s secular activists, which police have blamed on a banned Islamist militant group.

“Some unknown miscreants hacked Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, the publisher of a slain atheist writer, secular blogger Ranadipam Basu and Tareq Rahim at the office of Shuddhaswar publications in the capital,” local police chief Jamaluddin Mir told AFP.

Activists described the third victim, Rahim, 30, as a young secular blogger and poet.

“The condition of at least one person is critical,” Mir said, adding that the attackers padlocked the office door from outside as they left.

Police said officers broke the lock and found the three injured men in a pool of blood.

“They have been rushed to a hospital,” Mir said.

One of the victims Basu, 50, posted a short Facebook status immediately after the attack: “They hacked us, me Tutul and Tareq”.

A witness told The Daily Star newspaper that a group of men stormed into the Shuddhaswar offices and held a gun to his head before attacking Tutul, Basu and Rahim.

“Frozen in fear, I could not tell how many there were. They stabbed the trio in the office room and left in hurry,” he told the newspaper.

“I also heard gunshots,” he added.

“Doctors told us that the conditions of two, including the publisher, were critical. They were attacked in their heads and chests,” Imran H. Sarker, the head of a secular bloggers’ group told AFP, adding two of the victims appeared to also have bullet wounds.

Sarker said that Tutul, 43, was the owner of Shuddhaswar, which published books by Avijit Roy and several other young secular writers.

Roy, a US national of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants outside a book fair in Dhaka in February this year. His wife, herself a secular blogger, was also seriously injured in the incident.

This year at least four atheist bloggers have been killed by suspected Islamists in almost identical attacks, which police have blamed on the banned local Islamist militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).

Tensions are high in Bangladesh following the recent killings of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer, who were shot dead in attacks claimed by Daesh group.

The bombing of the capital’s main Shiite shrine last weekend, which killed one person and wounded dozens more, has further raised concerns for minorities living in the mainly Muslim but officially secular nation.

That attack was also claimed by Daesh jihadists, but the government responded by denying that the extremist group was active in Bangladesh, and instead rounded up dozens of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s opponents.

Protesters massed outside at the hospital where the three injured men were taken and slammed the government for failing to protect the country’s secular bloggers.

“The government is responsible,” said Asif Mohiuddin, a Berlin-based Bangladeshi atheist blogger who survived a machete attack by ABT militants in December 2013.

“The country’s bloggers have sought protection from the government and yet there have been no visible efforts to ensure their security,” he told AFP by phone.