ARSA poses security threat

The statements of the four accused in the murder of Rohingya leader Mohibullah revealed that he was not killed only because of the internal conflict of the Rohingya refugee camp, extortion or drug trafficking. Rumors have been circulating since the assassinated of Mohibullah on 27 September last year that the Arakan Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya militant group in Myanmar, was behind it.

The four accused who testified in the Cox's Bazar chief judicial magistrate's court are Azizul Haque, Hamid Hossain, Nazimuddin and Md Elias. They claimed to be ARSA members and the killing was carried out by the order of Ataullah Abu Ammar Jununi, the group's leader.

The government has been saying at different times that there is no movement of ARSA in Bangladesh. But the killing of Mohibullah somehow proved that they are active in Bangladesh and they are capable of unleashing danger. The organisation like ARSA is dangerous not only for Rohingya but also for the national security of Bangladesh.

According to the statements of the accused, 25 members of ARSA took part in Mohibullah's murder. They even managed to escape after committing the murder. It is understood that their activities in Bangladesh are strong. There are allegations that ARSA was also involved in the murder of Rohingya leader Arifullah in Balukhali-2 camp in Ukhia in June 2018.

Mohibullah, chairman of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH), was vocal about the return of Rohingya refugees. He also took a strong stand against drug smuggling in the refugee camps. ARSPH chief also played a role in holding rallies inside the country and shaping public opinion abroad on the return of Rohingya refugees.

There is no doubt that the faction of the Rohingyas, which do not want to return to the country and is interested in running drug businesses from here, has killed Mohibullah. Police arrested Shah Ali, brother of ARSA chief, with weapons and drugs. In addition to drugs, illegal weapons are now a major problem in Rohingya refugee camps.

Bangladesh sheltered Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds as they were forced to flee the country after being subjected to extreme persecution by the country's military in Arakan state, Myanmar. Even before the influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh in August 2017, Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh after being subjected to various tortures.

In all, Bangladesh has to take the pressure of about 1.2 million Rohingyas. Due to the Rohingya camps, Bangladesh is facing various social, economic and environmental problems. Now, if there is violence or armed activity centering these camps, it will pose a threat to our national security.

We think that the issue of ARSA's activities around the Rohingya camp should be taken seriously. The murder of Rohingya leader Mohibullah has also raised questions about the security situation in the camps at the international level.

The government needs to be more vigilant in strengthening the security t the refugee camps. The government must take stern actions so that ARSA or any such organisation cannot operate here. At the same time, efforts should be made to repatriate Rohingyas safely.