14 armed groups active in the Rohingya camps
Around 14 armed criminal gangs are active in the 34 Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar. Seven of these groups are active in Ukhiya and seven in Teknaf. These groups are involved in various crimes including yaba and gold smuggling, kidnapping, extortion and human trafficking.
Shoot-outs and clashes between these groups in the Rohingya camp areas to establish supremacy and control over the illegal yaba business have also become very common.
Various leaders of the Rohingya camps, local people’s representatives of Ukhiya and sources from the law enforcement agencies confirmed this. These groups are named after various persons (Rohingyas). The seven terrorist gangs of Teknaf include Hakim Bahini, Sadeq Bahini, Hasan Bahini, Nurul Alam Bahini, Hamid Bahini and Nur Mohammad Bahini. The seven gangs of Ukhiya are - Munna Bahini, Asad Bahini, Rahim Bahini, Kamal Bahini, Jamal Bahini, Manu Bahini and Giyas Bahini.
Several police officials in charge of ensuring security in the Rohingya camps told Prothom Alo that these armed criminals in the camp remain out of reach as the Rohingya settlements are built on the slopes of high hills. As there is no electricity supply in the area, everything becomes dark in the camps as soon night falls. It is difficult to conduct any drive in the camps to nab the terrorists as the area is densely populated.
Chairman of Rajapalong union parishad and general secretary of Ukhiya upazila Awami League, Jahangir Kabir Chowdhury, told Prothom Alo several criminal gangs are active in the 23 Rohingya camps in Ukhiya and 11 camps in Teknaf. These groups are buying arms with the money coming from yaba and gold smuggling. The sound of gunfire can often be heard from the Rohingya camps. Rohingyas as well as Bangladeshis around the camp are terrified of these groups.
He said that they have come to know about the activities of at least 14 criminal groups in the Rohingya camps as well as the fact that Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is active through various channels.
The concern regarding Myanmar’s terrorist group ARSA resurfaced after the killing of Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah on Wednesday last. Mohibullah was the chairman of Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH).
After the killing of Mohib Ullah, the family members and persons close to him are feeling unsafe. At least three of them have appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) seeking security for their life. Apart from that, more than hundred Rohingya leaders and activists from more than 10 organisations advocating for the Rohingya repatriation have already gone into hiding. Several leaders of various Rohingya camps disclosed this information.
In the meantime, the Armed Police Battalion (APBn) has arrested two more people in connection with the killing of Rohingya leader Mohibullah.
Speaking to Prothom Alo regarding this, Md Azad Mia told Prothom Alo that three Rohingya terrorists have been arrested as of Saturday night. They are trying to bring all the groups carrying out criminal activities around the Rohingya camp to book. Special drives are being conducted with the help of different forces to arrest them.
The situation in the Ukhiya’s Lombasia, Madhurchhara and Kutupalong camps is still quite tense. Security at the entry points of the camps has been tightened.
Zafar Alam, 50, a Rohingya leader of a camp in Ukhiya, said ARSA leader Abdur Rahim had two separate bases in the forest on the west side of the Kutupalong camp. He also has another abode on the hill next to the Nayapara camp in Teknaf. Usually during the day Rahim used to stay in the hills with his people. He used to smuggle yaba and gold, collect ransom after abduction and collect money from shops owned by the Rohingyas. He used to torture anyone who protested.
According to police sources, more than 50 Rohingyas have been killed in the last two and a half years in retaliatory attacks, shootings and clashes between Rohingya terrorist groups over yaba and gold smuggling, money laundering, extortion and establishing supremacy in the camp area. At least 59 Rohingya women have been raped. A total of 1,272 cases have been filed. Among them 65 are murder case, 59 are rape case, 813 are narcotic case, 28 cases are filed on the allegation of human trafficking and 56 are arms case. Besides, 251 cases have been lodged over other incidents of crime and violence.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Teknaf model police station, Hafizur Rahman told Prothom Alo that a total of 27 cases have been filed against Hakim, leader of “Hakim Bahini”. However, he could not be detained despite several special drives. At least eight members of this terrorist group have been killed in gunfights with the law enforcement agencies at different times.
Two more arrested over the killing of Mohib Ullah
The two Rohingyas, arrested on the allegation of being involved in the killing of Mohib Ullah, are – Ziaur Rahman and Abdus Salam. They are from the Kutupalong Rohingya camp. They were arrested around 1.30am on Saturday.
Naimul Haque, captain of 14 APBn and superintendent of police (SP) in charge of security at Ukhiya camp, said the arrested persons are members of the same group. They have been handed over to Ukhiya police station.
Earlier on Friday morning, another Rohingya terrorist named Salim Ullah was arrested from the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in a drive. He was sent to jail through the court on Friday afternoon. The court put him on 3-day remand on Sunday.
The Rohingya leaders have claimed that the NGO service activities have become limited after the killing of Mohib Ullah.
However, the additional refugee relief and repatriation commissioner of the Office of Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, Shamsuddoza told Prothom Alo that although there is fear among the workers after the assassination of Mohib Ullah, the services have not stopped and the hospitals and clinics are open as usual.
Emergency services including relief and drinking water have not been stopped. However, the local and foreign officials and employees involved in the service activities were already instructed to leave the camp before 4:00pm, he added.
The police officials have said they are investigating the assassination of Mohib Ullah considering the claims of the family members that the members of ARSA are behind the incident. However, the police officials did not want to disclose anything regarding the progress of the investigation.
In the meantime foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said while speaking to the journalists on Friday Mohib Ullah's killers must be brought to justice. Mohib Ullah wanted to return to Myanmar. That is why a vested quarter has killed him. The government will take strict action against those involved in the killings. No one will be exempted.