Myanmar armed groups’ movement in Rohingya camps: Home minister

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan speaks to journalists during his visit to a Rohingya refugee camp in Palongkhali of Ukhiya Cox’s Bazar on 31 May 2024.Prothom Alo

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the movement of members of the Myanmar armed groups who are fighting against the government forces inside Myanmar has been noticed in the Rohingya refugee camps.

Narcotics have been arriving in Bangladesh from Myanmar for a long, and now arms and ammunition are being seized along with drugs during law enforcement agencies’ raids even though Bangladesh manufactures no narcotics, he added.

Citing several people from Rohingya camps get involved in arms and drug dealing, the home minister said, “We are trying to identify the arms and drugs dealers, as well as to bring the people involved in arms and killings to book, and that is our main task now.”

Asaduzzaman Khan made these remarks while talking to journalists after a meeting with the official concerned at the APBn office in Taznimarghona refugee camp in Palongkhali of Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar on Friday. He went to Palongkhali from Cox’s Bazar by road in the morning, then held an hour-long meeting with the officials and visited the camp. Nearly 37,000 refugees live in the camp.

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Inspector general of police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, Refugee Relief and Repatriation commissioner Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Armed Police Battalion (APBn) chief Selim Mohammad Jahangir, additional inspector general Anwar Hossain and Chattogram range DIG Noor-E-Alam Mina were present at the meeting.

There are currently 1.25 million registered Rohingyas refugees at 33 camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf, and more than 2,300 members of the APBn remain deployed at the camps to provide security to the refugees.

Mentioning that evidence of previous concerns over forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals, the Rohingyas, are becoming visible, Asaduzzaman Khan said adding, “The future of the Rohingya looks bleak. We have been saying that if they are not sent back to Myanmar in the shortest possible time unrest may arise in the camps; a hub of international terrorists may be created here; armed fighting may become common; many things may happen. Now, we are noticing evidence of it. Rohingya get involved in drug dealings, possess illegal arms and carry out killings. Several groups are carrying out this, and these terror activities will have to be quelled at any cost. We do not want to see bloodshed and violence and turmoil in the camps anymore.”

The home minister said Bangladesh and various international organisations continue their efforts on repatriation of Rohingya, but it has not been possible because of Myanmar. Various agreements on repatriation have been signed from time to time, but no progress has been made due to Myanmar.