Mohib Ullah killed as he wanted to return to Myanmar: Foreign minister

Foreign minister AK Abdul MomenBSS file photo

Top Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah was killed as he wanted to return to Myanmar, the place of origin of Rohingya people, said Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.

Momen was talking to the media upon his arrival from the US on Friday night.

Those who killed Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah will surely be brought to book, the foreign minister said. “He wanted to return to his own country, Myanmar. That’s why certain vested quarters killed him. The government will take tough action against the people involved with the murder. No one will be spared.”

Mohib Ullah, known as a moderate who advocated for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar with rights they were previously denied during decades of persecution, was shot to death by some miscreants in a camp in Lambashia on Wednesday night.

He was the leader of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH), founded in 2017 to document atrocities against Rohingya in their native Myanmar and give them a voice in international talks about their future.

He always defended the rights of the Rohingya to safe and dignified return and to have a say in the decisions concerning their lives and future
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch

On Friday, the Armed Police Battalion (APBn) arrested a Rohingya man on suspicion of his involvement with the killing of Mohib Ullah. Arrested Selim Ullah, 30, a Rohingya man living in Ukhiya Rohingya camp was handed over to Ukhiya police station. Police said he is a member of a terror gang.

Earlier, on Thursday afternoon, speaking to newspersons, slain Mohib Ullah’s brother Habib Ullah blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the murder. He also said he could identify three people involved with the murder.

Habib Ullah filed a lawsuit with Ukhiya police station on that night. He, however, did not mention about ARSA in the case statement. Instead, unknown people were made accused, said police sources.

Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah
Reuters file photo

Speaking about this, APBn deputy inspector general Md Azad Mia told Prothom Alo on Friday night that the investigation into the murder of Mohib Ullah is underway taking all the allegations, including the involvement of ARSA, of the plaintiff into cognisance.

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Alongside the United Nations, the United States has also called for a “full and transparent” investigation into the murder of prominent Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah, with an aim of bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement that the US is “deeply saddened” and “disturbed” by the murder of the Rohingya Muslim advocate and community leader.

Condemning the murder, the United Nations has sought a proper investigation into the killing of Mohib Ullah. “The United Nations urges the Bangladesh authorities to undertake an investigation and to hold those responsible to account,” said Stephanie Tremblay, Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also sought urgent investigation into Mohib Ullah’s killing along with other attacks on Rohingya activists in the camps.

“Mohib Ullah was a vital voice for the community of Rohingya who had suffered unimaginable loss and pain when they arrived as refugees in Bangladesh,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch on Thursday.

“He always defended the rights of the Rohingya to safe and dignified return and to have a say in the decisions concerning their lives and future.”

Mohib Ullah’s death undermines not only the struggle of Rohingya refugees for greater rights and protection in the refugee camps, but also their efforts to safely return to their homes in Myanmar, Ganguly said.

Mohib Ullah had served as a leader among the nearly one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, documenting the Myanmar military's crimes against the Rohingya and advocating for the refugees' rights in international forums.