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Tensions high in Rohingya camps as casualties mount from internal clashes

  • Published at 03:35 pm October 7th, 2020
rohingya refugee camp
File Photo: Bangladesh has been hosting more than a million Rohingyas in sprawling camps in Cox’s Bazar after they fled persecution in Myanmar Reuters

Tensions in the camps are at an all-time high with seven people killed and over a hundred others injured in the past week

Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar are known hot spots for criminal activities. Attempts to establish dominance and internal conflicts are still the major reasons behind the recent acts of chaos inside the refugee camps. 

As a result, tensions in and out of the camps are now at an all-time high with seven people killed and over a hundred others injured in the past week due to an ongoing conflict inside Ukhiya’s Kutupalong camp.

Multiple Rohingya refugees, speaking on record on the condition of anonymity, said at least one criminal gang is currently active at each of the 34 Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf. 

Also Read- Bangladesh govt sends more troops to end Rohingya camp drug turf war

Clashes and shootings are regularly taking place inside camps centring on extortion, yaba and other drug trade, firearms trade, and establishing supremacy. 

In the last week alone, several clashes broke out in Kutupalong and Lambasia Rohingya camps in Ukhiya resulting in the deaths of seven Rohingyas with over a hundred others also injured.

Two Rohingyas were killed on Sunday, one on Monday and the last four on Tuesday, said Ukhiya police station Officer-in-Charge (Investigation) Gazi Salahuddin.

Speaking on the issue, the police official said: “Establishing supremacy inside the refugee camps is still a major reason for heightened tension between the criminal groups. However, the situation in the camp is now under control as the law enforcement agencies are vigilant.”

Also Read- RAB detains 9 Rohingyas with arms following fatal Kutupalong clash

Over the recent clashes, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-15) in Cox's Bazar raided Camp 21 (Chakmarkul) in Teknaf and arrested nine Rohingya criminals along with firearms.

Since August 25, 2017, Bangladesh has been sheltering over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have had to flee persecution carried out by security forces and pro-government militias in bordering Myanmar.

These men, women and children were given refuge in 34 camps set up in Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. 

The first year for the refugees inside the camps passed without internal conflicts or gang violence. But, the crimes inside camps have been on the rise since.