One person was killed and two others were injured in a fire and shelling at the Rohingya camp at Konarpara zero point of Tambru border in Ghumdhum of Naikkhongchhari upazila of Bandarban. A spate of such clashes and violence has been making headlines in recent months. It is clearly evident from these incidents that how dangerous the law and order situation in the area has become.
Prothom Alo reports that almost all of the 4,000 Rohingya who were staying in the zero-point shelter camp have fled and taken shelter across the border of Bangladesh as the camp was burnt down. They are trying to build another refugee camp in Bangladesh. However, law and enforcers refused to allow building any shelters there. In this situation, even the local administration could not take a decision on where the Rohingyas from the zero point will be kept until this editorial was filed. The International Red Cross Society has provided dry food which was not adequate.
In 2017, when the Myanmar government launched a genocide against the Rohingyas, nearly 800,000 Rohingyas crossed the border and sought refuge in Bangladesh. Another 400,000 Rohingyas were already staying in Bangladesh at the time. As many as 1.2 million Rohingya population overwhelmed Bangladesh with loads of burden. From the very start, the Rohingya refugee camps were involved in drug smuggling as well as terrorist activities.
In recent times, terrorist activities have increased along the Myanmar border. According to Prothom Alo, the arson and shelling of the Rohingya shelter camp at the zero point in Konarpara last week occurred over dominance of the area between Myanmar's armed groups Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). Both the groups collect money from the Rohingyas.
The Rohingya issue is an internal matter of Myanmar. But there are many groups active in the Rohingya camps besides Arsa and RSO, that create chaos and disorder in the Rohingya camps. Their aim is not to repatriate the Rohingyas, but to thwart any attempt to repatriate them. These activities of Rohingya militant group are not only a threat to public safety but also to the sovereignty of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has extended temporary shelter to the Rohingyas for humanitarian reasons. It was expected that they would return to their country when the situation in Myanmar comes to normal. But unfortunately, even after five and a half years, the Myanmar government has not taken back even a single Rohingya. Current Myanmar government in power does not care about bilateral agreements or global concerns.
The source of funding of terrorist groups in Rohingya camps is drug trading. Therefore, the drug traders must be brought to law to stop the terrorist activities there. There are allegations that some of the law enforcement and border guards are involved in the drug trade along the border. The reports of various intelligence agencies have revealed that the politically influential people of the border areas are also involved in these drug trades.
Worryingly, no effective action has been taken against them. Law enforcement and border guards should be on high alert so that no Rohingya militant group can use the territory of Bangladesh to carry out terrorist activities. If necessary, the security should be heightened there.