IGP set to visit Rohingya camps amid rise of crimes

APBn's drive in a Rohingya campCollected

Incidents like shooting, factional clashes and killings have become a common phenomena in the Rohingya camps of Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar.

The Rohingya people are terrified with the clashes between Myanmar’s armed groups Arakan Salvation Army (ARSA) and Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO).

Government officials and private agencies, who are working at the Rohingya camps, are also concerned about the safety of their lives.

Under such a circumstance, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun is coming to Cox’s Bazar on a two-day official visit on Tuesday. He will visit the Rohingya camps in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar during the tour.

The police chief is also expected to hold meetings with heads of law enforcement agencies deployed in the Rohingya camps and with the chiefs of government and international agencies regarding the law and order in the camps.

The Rohingyas and concerned persons in the camps are expecting that the IGP will deliver new directives regarding maintaining law and order in the camps.

Some are expecting joint-drives against criminals to improve the law and order situation in the Rohingya camps.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, additional deputy inspector general (DIG) of police and director of the 14 Armed Police Battalion (APBn), Syed Harun-ur-Rashid said, “Apart from visiting a few of the Rohingya camps in Ukhiya, the police chief will hold  meetings with the heads of law enforcement agencies and government and international organisations on Wednesday.”

Several important issues, including maintaining law and order in the camps, arresting criminals and drug smuggling, could be raised in the meeting.

Speaking about the joint-drives, the APBn captain Syed Harun-ur-Rashid said, “Drives are on in the Rohingya camps to arrest the criminals. Many of the criminals have been arrested with arms. Despite that, there could be a new directive.”

The number of registered Rohingyas in the 33 camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf is nearly 1.2 million. Around 800,000 of them came to Bangladesh in a few months after 25 August 2017.  Although six years have elapsed since then, it has not been possible to repatriate even a single Rohingya family back to Myanmar.

40 Killed in shooting and clashes in five months

According to Rohingya leaders and police, at least 40 Rohingyas were killed in several incidents of clashes and shootings in the last five months alone. Among the deceased, 15 were Rohingya leaders (majhi), 10 were members of ARSA and one was a volunteer. The remaining of the deceased were Rohingya people.

The police say lastly, a Rohingya leader named Abdur Rashid was shot by miscreants last Sunday, 30 April. He is a supporter of RSO. He is undergoing treatment at the Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital at the moment.

Rohingya leader Rawshan Ali, 55, was shot dead by members of ARSA in the Rohingya camp No 13 on 15 April. He was the sub-majhi (leader) of the E2 block of the camp.

Police and Rohingya leaders say a total of five Rohingyas, including two ARSA members, were killed in five separate incidents of clash and shooting in several camps in Ukhiya. Besides, a Rohingya sustained bullet wounds during a clash.

In March, as many as 11 Rohingyas were killed in 10 separate incidents of clashes in the Rohingya camps. Four children were shot in these incidents.

On condition of anonymity, several Rohingya leaders said several armed groups, including the ARSA and RSO, started appearing in the camps with arms as soon as evening approached. They fire blanks to terrify people in order to establish supremacy in the area.

Posters were hung in different Rohingya camps, including Kutupalong, Madhurchhorha, Lambashiya and Balukhali, seeking the whereabouts of eight criminals, including ARSA’s chief commander Ataullah Abu Ammar Jununi. There were also announcements of a reward of Tk 100,000 for giving the whereabouts of those criminals in the posters written in English and Burmese.

Earlier, posters were hung seeking the whereabouts of Nabi Hossain, one of the drug kingpins of the Rohingya camps. Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) also hung posters announcing a reward of Tk 1 million for giving the whereabouts of Nabi Hossain. However, Nabi Hossain is still beyond the reach of the law enforcement agencies.

The members of 14 APBn arrested at least 500 Rohingya terrorists and recovered seven automated pistols and more than 30 one-shooter guns in drives conducted at different camps.

However, the main culprits remain out of reach. The Rohingyas think that joint drives will be needed to detain the criminal leaders.

Harun-ur-Rashid, captain of 14 APBn, said, “Special drives are being conducted in the Rohingya camps to arrest the criminals. We have already arrested several ARSA members with arms and ammunition. However, it has not been possible yet to detain their leaders as they take resort in areas beyond the Bangladeshi border or in the dense forest of Teknaf."

Speaking regarding the posters, the APBn captain said, “The members of ARSA and RSO have done this. These criminal groups are in a race to finish each other."

According to the police, the IGP will reach Cox’s Bazar by air on Tuesday afternoon. He will meet with law enforcement officials and chiefs of different government and international agencies in the evening.

He will visit the Maynarghona Rohingya camp, 65 kilometres away from the Cox’s Bazar town. After that he will visit several other camps.

Later, he will hold a meeting with top APBn officials deployed there. Following that he will return to the city in the afternoon and will hold meetings with the officials of government and private agencies working in Cox’s Bazar. The IGP is scheduled to return to the capital by air following the meeting.