Two Rohingya leaders shot dead in Ukhiya refugee camp

Prothom Alo illustration

Two ‘head majhis’ (leaders of Rohingya people who were forced to leave their homes in Rakhine state in Myanmar) were shot dead by some miscreants at camp no. 15 at Balukhali refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday night.

The incident took place at a hill of Block C of camp no. 15 at around 11:45pm.

Deceased Abu Taleb, 50, and Syed Hossain, 40, were leaders of the camp management committee. Tension has been prevailing in the camp following the incident.

Camp dwellers claimed armed members of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) shot the two leaders to death over spreading their influence in the camp and drug trading.

Police and Rohingya people, who witnessed the incident, said a few Rohingya people were talking in front of a shade at the camp after saying their holy Ashura prayers on Tuesday night. At that time, a few armed miscreants opened firing indiscriminately there, leaving Abu Taleb and Syed Hossain bullet-injured. Armed Police Battalion (APBn) members took the two bullet-hit Rohingya leaders to local MSF Hospital at Jamtoli camp. Duty physician declared Syed Hossain dead while Abu Taleb was shifted to Kutupalong MSF Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Ukhiya police station officer-in-charge Sheikh Mohammad Ali said, “Police prepared the primary investigation report on the death of two Rohingya leaders early Wednesday. Marks of several bullet injuries were found on their bodies. The bodies will be sent to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital for autopsy. Police have been conducting operations to detain those involved with the incident.”

Several Rohingya people of the camp informed Prothom Alo that there was a dispute between the Rohingya leaders and ARSA members over establishing influence in the camps and drug trading for long. The leaders were receiving death threats as they provided information to the law enforcement of the ARSA members’ movements in the camps. Earlier, on Monday night, Ayat Ullah, 28, of camp no. 8 at Balukhali sustained bullet-injuries. He is a member of volunteers who work as security at night (Lathi-Basi Bahini). Ayat Ullah is currently undergoing treatment at Kutupalong MSF Hospital.

Rohingya leader Kamal Uddin said the law enforcement were able to capture several members of ARSA with arms and drugs with the assistance of majhis. The ARSA members have been a bit desperate now as they are not being able to enter the camps at night due to the security measures. This led to a clash between the majhis and ARSA members as they could not continue their drug business and collect money from the Rohingya people.