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Infighting causes unrest at Rohingya camps

  • Published at 05:07 pm March 4th, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:58 am March 5th, 2018
Infighting causes unrest at Rohingya camps

Some Rohingyas, who have taken shelter at 12 camps in Cox’s Bazar district, are getting into personal feuds which are resulting in murders, injuries, and kidnappings, making life in the camps frequently more chaotic.

Police reports say three Rohingyas were killed at the Kutupalong, Balukhali, and Jamtoli camps in the last three days while three others were stabbed by a rival group on Saturday.

Law enforcement agencies also said four Rohingya men had been killed in the camp areas in January, while factional clashes, kidnappings, and the smuggling of yaba and arms is becoming increasingly common.

They said factional clashes and kidnappings are becoming quite regular in the area.

Apart from this, on March 1 Ukhiya police arrested 13 people from the Balukhali-Kutpalong greater camp area as they attempted to kidnap a rival man. Cox’s Bazar district police claimed that most of the murders occurred due to previous enmities between victims and culprits.

Law enforcement officials, civil administrators, and aid providers told the Dhaka Tribune that the Rohingyas, in the first four months since last August, were busy with finding shelter, food, and medical treatment.

However, now that they have recovered from their initial trauma and are starting to lead almost normal lives at the camps, their old internal conflicts are resuming and causing chaos and bloodshed, said authorities who are involved in aiding the displaced group.

Recently transferred Cox’s Bazar’s Deputy Commissioner Ali Hossain told Dhaka Tribune: “Their interpersonal disputes are creating a horrific situation at the camps. Sometimes their clashes end with injuries; sometimes there are incidents of murder or attempted murder,”

 “Cashing in on such a situation, some groups are misleading the simple Rohingya people. Locals are attempting to foil the repatriation of the displaced community to their country,” the DC also said; blaming foreign media for spreading misleading information about the situation.

Also Read- Ethnic groups oppose Rohingya resettlement in Rakhine 

Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state six months ago to save themselves from the torture of the Myanmar Army and the Moghs, joining more than 400,000 others who were already staying in Bangladesh.

Ukhiya police station OC Abul Khayer said: “The Rohingyas are not educated enough, so they are being easily misguided by ill-meaning groups. They are being instigated to lock in deadly infighting within their own community over trivial matters,”

“We are keeping a sharp eye on the Rohingya camps. We are determined to prevent any kind of untoward situation as well as to ensure proper humanitarian aid for the displaced people,” added the OC whose jurisdiction covers eight camps housing about 75% of the Rohingya refugees.

Several Rohingya men have been arrested with firearms and lethal weapons while they attempted to commit crimes in the camps or adjacent places, police said.

Apart from these incidents, yaba peddling by the Rohingyas has become a common scenario in the local areas.

Even law enforcers were attacked a couple of times when they tried to prevent illegal activities.

The police deployed increased numbers of uniformed and plainclothes officers at the 12 Rohingya camps while the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs recently recommended setting up a separate police station in the camp areas to maintain law and order.

“The committee in its meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad on January 25 also recommended setting up a security fence around the camps,” said Fakhrul Imam, a member of the committee.

Admitting to infighting among the Rohingyas in the camps, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Md Abul Kalam said that five police camps are in the process of being set up in the camp areas.

Also Read- EU reassures Bangladesh of support over Rohingya crisis 
“500 policemen will always be present at the five camps to maintain law and order. This will reduce criminal tendencies,” he said on January 25 at a joint press conference with the Inter Sector Coordination Group. “The suffering at the hands of the Myanmar army as well as the Moghs for years combined with a lack of proper education and leadership makes the Rohingya community quite unaware and ignorant of their surrounding world,” said a high official of an International Non-Government Organisation, seeking anonymity. Cox’s Bazar Additional Superintendent of Police Afjurul Haque Tutul said: “We will have full control over the situation when legislative actions are taken against the culprits and instigators.”