According to the latest report of Bangladesh Peace Observatory (BPO) on security in the Rohingya camps and the degree of violence there, 108 persons were killed in the Teknaf and Ukhiya camps in the last four years up till this August. The report has been updated on the basis of various reports published in the media. As the report was up till August this year, the killing of Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah, shot dead on Wednesday, has not been included.
BPO is part of a project, 'Partnership for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh', being implemented by Dhaka University's Centre for Genocide Studies.
According to the BPO report, among the 108 persons who were killed, 78 were killed by miscreants suddenly and without warning, while 22 were killed in clashes and shoot-outs. Two were killed after being abducted and six were killed in various other incidents.
Cox's Bazar superintendent of police Md Hasanuzzaman, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, "We have seen many killings among the Rohingya due to family feuds. Many have been killed in criminal incidents. There are many other reasons too behind the killings."
According to the BPO report, the police and sources in the camps, after being evicted from their homes in Myanmar, Rohingyas began to stream into Bangladesh from 25 August 2017. Later, various criminal activities began to emerge in the camps. Initially, many of the killings were the consequences of past feuds back in Rakhine. Later clashes and violence developed over exerting dominance in the camps and over the various facilities. Some of the killings were the result of robbery, abduction, drugs and human trafficking. Family vendetta was also a reason for the murders. Recent speculations have been about those for and against repatriation.
According to records of the law enforcement, 731 cases were filed against Rohingyas in the first year for 12 different types of crime. Many were even sent to jail in these incidents.
Human rights activist Md Nur Khan, who has experience of working in the Rohingya camps, was asked about the possible causes of this rise in crime. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said that initially the environment in the camps was different, Now, with the passage of time, problems are on the rise.
Nur Khan said that there were various criminals groups within the camps. While there were various criminal drug gangs, there was reportedly also the presence of political terrorist organisations such as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and so on. These groups are rife with internal conflicts as well killings and extortion. There are also family conflicts, he added.
However, the Mohib Ullah killing is different from the other killings that have been taking place in the Rohingya camps so far. According to analysts, Mohib Ullah was the voice of the common Rohingyas. Terrorist or extremist groups like ARSA feel threatened when such people, who want a peaceful and non-violent solution to the Rohingya problem, grow in popularity.
Professor of international relations at Dhaka University and director of BPO, Imtiaz Ahmed, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, the more time the international community takes in sending the Rohingyas back to Myanmar, the more killings will take place and more problems will arise. The international community should put pressure on the Myanmar government and resolve this problem.
(The Teknaf correspondent provided information for this report)
* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir