Miscreants are now using the Rohingya camps as a safe to carryi out violent activities.
The peace in the camps is being disrupted due to turf wars among various groups. This is happening mainly because some miscreants, who have come into Bangladesh from Myanmar's Arakan state, have established their dominance by forming alliance with local groups.
Within a span of two months, police have recovered the bodies of three Rohingyas – Ayub Majhi, Md Selim and Md Shafi – from Ukhiya's Kutupalong camps. Hundreds of other Rohingyas and their representatives were also injured in various incidents.
A group of around twenty miscreants also attacked the chairman of the management committee of an unregistered camp in Kutupalong, Abu Siddique, in broad daylight. They repeatedly stabbed him with the intention of killing him. But when local Rohingyas came to his rescue, the attackers flee the scene. The severe attack left him critically injured. He is now being treated at Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
On June 13, the same group attacked and looted the houses of a local leader, Ayub Majhi, and the refugee, Md Selim, in Block E-1 of an unregistered camp in Kutupalong. The two were also abducted by the criminals.
On June 18, police recovered Selim's tied-up body from a swamp in Balukhali and on June 25, Ayub's body was also recovered in the same state.
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A lonely Rohingya child walks through the aisle of the Cox's Bazar's Kutupalong unregistered camp Shafiur Rahman/Dhaka Tribune
Similarly, Md Shafi was abducted by unknown miscreants in the early hours, on May 23, from a registered camp in Kutupalong. On May 25, his body was recovered by Ukhiya police from a nearby forest in Modhurchhora. Police could not yet arrest anyone in connection to this murder.
The dominance of such miscreants is still prevalent in the camps.
Local Rohingyas have identified a few of the abductors and murderers from the armed group. They are Korim Ullah, Selim Ullah, Ismail, Md Jaber, Md Nur, Monir Mohammad, Khulla Mia Munna, Selim, Kolimullah, Md Kalu and Md Islam. The attackers have been allegedly working under the militant group Harakah al-Yaqin (HaY), and they are now evading arrest.
Many along with the families of the victims are now living in fear of abduction, said Md Shafi's brother Md Hazan. He also said that there is “lack of law and order in the camps”.
Due to the recent increasing criminal activities, Majhira, a refugee from Kutupalong camp's Block-C, is now in hiding in fear of his death. Majhira is one of the many representatives who have resorted to stay in hiding to escape the fatal fate of the three dead people.
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A young Rohingya woman in front of her rickety hut at Dargachhara village in Teknaf upazila, Cox's Bazar. Dargachhara is one of the Teknaf villages where the new Rohingya refugees are settling in after fleeing their homes in Northern Rakhine, Myanmar. The photo was taken in May, 2017 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Abu Siddique said: “Those of us, who abide by law and order of the country and work for the Rohingyas, are in constant fear after the recent incidents. The criminals are working for Myanmar's so-called jihadi group Harakah al-Yaqin. Having being failed to extort money and other services from the leaders of the Rohingyas camps, these people are now threatening to abduct or kill us. Many Rohingyas are going in hiding in fear of their security.”
Rajapalong UP chairman Jahangir Kabir Chowdhury refused to make any comment in this regard when this correspondent called him. Instead, he requested the correspondent to meet him in person to talk about the issue.
However, local UP member Bakhtiar Ahmed said: “Many national and international organisations and NGOs are distributing funds from unknown sources without any restrictions in the name of humanity. In response to that, activities of various criminal groups are increasing. Even though, we have given the responsibility of controlling such situations to local administrations and union councils, it has not been effective.”
Cox's Bazar ASI Md Afruzul Haque Tutul said: “The report about attacks by masked al-Yaqin militants published in international media is unfounded and exaggerated. We have not found any evidence in that regard during our investigation. The murders were carried out in the camps due to internal conflicts. We have deployed extra police in the said camps to counter such situations in the future. Law and order in the camps remains the same.”
Ukhiya police station OC, Abdul Khair, said that many of these criminals might have come along with the Rohingyas who escaped Myanmar recently to take refuge in Bangladesh. However, he added that the incident about “masked attackers” is not true. He also said: “We have raided the camps and detained a few miscreants in connection to the recent attacks that happened there. We have also intensified our surveillance. We are continuing with the raids and the situation in the camps is normal and peaceful.”