01/12/2023, 17.59
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Armed Rohingya gangs kill, abduct and sow fear in Cox's Bazar

by Sumon Corraya

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army is targeting opponents in refugee camps with increasingly unscrupulous actions. Local farmers are also targeted and abducted for ransom. According to Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies, 123 people have been killed and 207 kidnapped over the past five years.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Some 33 refugee camps dot Cox's Bazar, the area in Bangladesh on the border with Myanmar, home to 1.2 million Rohingya who fled their homes in Myanmar. Increasingly, crime, including murder, is a frequent occurrence.

Last Sunday, armed terrorists killed Mohammad Salim, a local leader, while another Rohingya, Abdul Basar, lives in fear of being next.

He said he started to receive threatening phone calls after his friend, Ahmad Rashid, was killed. He now lives in a secret place to be safe.

Rohingya refugees complain that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the pro-independence militia based in Myanmar,  is increasingly unscrupulous in its actions in Cox's Bazar, using even with modern weapons, including grenades.

Their hiding place is in the Rohingya camp on the Zero Line (the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar) in Tumbru, an area where it is impossible for the Bangladeshi police to take action against them.

Last Friday, a refugee was arrested after a grenade was found in Balukhali 8 camp in Ukhia.

Local police battalion captain Amir Zafar told reporters that the grenade appeared to come from abroad,  although he was unable to point to the country.

In addition to the Rohingya, the local Bangladeshis are also under threat; terrorists have abducted Bangladeshi citizens for ransom and building shelters in the hills and forests of Teknaf.

According to Bangladeshi police, 10 and 14 armed Rohingya groups are involved in smuggling  ya ba[*] and gold in the camps.

A year and a half ago, after the killing of the main Rohingya leader, Muhibullah, the terrorists were driven out of the camps and settled in the mountains and forests.

To get money, they loot local homes and kidnap people for ransom. At least 70,000 people in 15 villages in three union parishads in Teknaf Upazila (district) live in fear.

The latest incident saw four farmers abducted in the Lechuaprang area Sunday morning

Three of them were released for 600,000 taka (around US$ 5,750). The fourth, Abdus Salam, is, however, still being held; the kidnappers are demanding a million taka (almost US$ 9,600).

According to police, 123 people have been killed in shelter in Ukhia and Teknaf in the last five years; some 207 Rohingya were taken from refugee camps for ransom over the same period of time.

Increasingly, the rising crime wave is making Rohingya refugees unpopular in Bangladesh.

[*] Tablets that contain methamphetamine and caffeine.

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See also
Rohingya in Cox's Bazar camps, the most persecuted refugees on earth (photos)
02/05/2018 18:20
More than 1,600 Rohingya refugees transferred to Bhasan Char Island (VIDEO)
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Children centres in Cox's Bazar, new hope for Rohingya children (photos)
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