Some 1,000 refugees – mostly young men – have returned home in Rakhine, while over 500 Rohingyas have infiltrated Bangladesh over the last few weeks.
The newly-arrived refugees have taken shelter at different camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar, said locals.
The military crackdown in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border region began in early October last year, after insurgents killed nine police officers. Since then, according to the UN, more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed, around 70,000 have fled across the border to Bangladesh, and another 20,000 are believed to be internally displaced.
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On February 15, the Myanmarese government announced to have formally ended its counterinsurgency operations in Rakhine, a state inhabited mostly by Muslims in the predominantly Buddhist country.
Scared and startled, the Rohingyas said halting the crackdown was a trick by their government to get them back home and further persecute them.
Abu Siddique, the chairman of the management committee of an unregistered camp at Kutupalong in Ukhiya, said: “The refugees went home perhaps to fetch their family members left behind earlier. It has been four months and they have barely even talked to their parents.
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“They might come back here again as the tortures have yet to be stopped even though the government outwardly ended the operations.”
He added that law enforcers were still raiding the Rakhine villages.
Echoing Siddique, Dudu Mia, the chairman of the management body of another unregistered camp in Teknaf, said to have seen 30-40 refugees returning from his camp.
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Md Yunus, who has long been living at a camp in Kutupalong, said: “I do not believe the atrocities have stopped and Rohingyas are returning home. I came to know three houses were recently burnt to ashes even after the police personnel had been withdrawn from Myanmar’s Maungdaw province that forced some 200 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh.”
Lt Col Abuzar Al Zahid, commander of the Teknaf 2 battalion of Bordr Guard Bangladesh, said: “The refugees heading towards their home country may come back again as they are not taking their belongings with them.”