Violent feud breaks out again between armed groups in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar
by Sumon Corraya

Police believe the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army is carrying out a new round of killings to assert its dominance in the refugee camps where more than 1.2 million Rohingya live.

Cox's Bazar (AsiaNews) – Four Rohingya were killed in a crossfire incident involving two armed groups at the Ukhiyar Jamtoli shelter camp (Camp 15) in Cox's Bazar, south-eastern Bangladesh.

The shooting involving members of the ethnic group victim of persecution in Myanmar pitted the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) against the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) yesterday, starting at 7.30 pm until 9 pm. The victims were aged 16, 27, 35 and 39 years.

Only at the end of the shooting did an Armed Police Battalion (APBN) of the Bangladeshi police arrive on the scene and recover the bodies.

In the aftermath of the violence between armed gangs vying for control of the huge refugee camp, a young Rohingya named Imam Hossain was killed on the same day by unidentified assailants in Camp 6.

Police believe that ARSA terrorists are carrying out these murders to assert their dominance in the camps and instil fear in the community.

Among the causes of this new wave of violence is an arrest order issued earlier this week by a court in Bandarban district against ARSA chief Ataullah Jununi and 49 associates in connection with the murder case of an intelligence operative.

The current officer in charge of the Ukhia police station, Shamim Hossain, believes that the group, in order to exert its control, sent 15-20 members to attack the RSO with guns and knives inside the refugee camp.

The victims include Abul Kashem, a Rohingya member of the RSO who had been actively promoting and maintaining a truce with ARSA over an extended period.

Police report that in the last eight months 74 Rohingya have lost their lives in 61 clashes and shootings in the camps. The victims include 22 ARSA members, five RSO and one volunteer.

Rohingya refugees are hosted in 33 shelter camps between Ukhia and Teknaf for a total of some 1.25 million people displaced by persecution in Myanmar. In the last five years alone, 723,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh.