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Rohingya leaders: Army coup will adversely impact repatriation bid

  • Published at 09:58 pm February 1st, 2021
Rohingyas sail for Bhashan Cha
File photo: Ships of Bangladesh Navy carry Rohingya people to Bhashan Char in Noakhali on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

‘Whenever there is any development regarding our repatriation process, the Myanmar authorities create a problem’

As tensions grew in Myanmar after the country’s military staged a coup d’etat in the early hours of Monday, Rohingyas living in the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh feared they might not be repatriated to their country.

Though the situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border has been normal despite the military takeover in the neighbouring country, Rohingya leaders in the refugee camps said the military takeover would badly affect the repatriation process. 

The Myanmar army declared a state of emergency and detained senior government officials over alleged fraud in the November general elections. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and leaders of her democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) are among the detainees.

Syed Ullah, a Rohingya leader in the Thaingkhali No 15 Camp in Ukhiya, said the Myanmar army had been creating a series of issues to halt the repatriation.


Also Read - Myanmar military seizes power, detains elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi


"Having forced us into Bangladesh through the 2017 crackdown, they kept on generating many domestic issues, with the coup being the latest. Our return to Myanmar has become even more uncertain now. We're so frustrated now," he said. 

Dil Mohammad, a Rohingya leader in Naikhyangchhari upazila's Ghumdhum zero-point camp, said Rohingyas did not care as to who came to power or got detained.

"We've got nothing to be happy or worried about. But what hurts us most is that whenever there is any development regarding our repatriation process, the Myanmar authorities create a problem," he said.

Minara Begum at the Ukhiya-based Balukhali No 2 camp said she was happy that Suu Kyi had been detained since the Myanmar army had perpetrated repression on the Rohingya on her direct instigation. 

However, she did not comment on the long-awaited repatriation.    


Also Read - Timeline: Events in troubled Myanmar since Suu Kyi's NLD party came to power


Mohammad Idris of No 7 camp near the TV Tower at Kutupalong camp in Ukhiya upazila said Rohingyas were concerned about the development. 

"Though we're hopeful about repatriation, our return has become uncertain now. Things will become so tough for us to return since the Myanmar army hardly pays heed to the international community," he said.

Rather the army would deliberately delay or halt the repatriation process, he feared.    

Similar reactions came from other leaders living in the rest of the camps in Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas in Cox's Bazar. 

Meanwhile, Border Guard Bangladesh sources in the coastal district said the tensions in Myanmar had had no impact on the bordering areas. However, members of the para-military force had been put on alert following the coup in Myanmar.