• Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
  • Last Update : 03:24 am

Murder spree in Rohingya camps continues unchallenged

  • Published at 11:37 am September 6th, 2018
Rohingya camp Kutupalong
File photo of Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

In a latest incident on Monday, police rescued three Rohingya men from a hill in Teknaf with injuries on their throats

The recent spike of murders in different Rohingya camps is showing no signs of slowing down. 

As a motive for these murders, law enforcers pointed out internal disputes and enmity among the Rohingya community, who have taken shelter in refugee camps strewn across the Cox’s Bazar district, since the Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine state last year.

In a latest incident on Monday, police rescued three Rohingya men from a hill in Teknaf with injuries on their throats. Culprits had abducted six men by luring them with promises of work. 

According to the Teknaf police, unidentified culprits might have abducted those people for ransom money, and injured them to put pressure on their relatives. 

Police are yet to track down the remaining three victims.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Additional Superintendent of Cox’s Bazar district police Mohammad Iqbal Hossain said: “This is not an isolated incident. The Rohingyas are getting involved in various crimes and internal feuds.

“In the last year, 19 Rohingyas were killed by the people from their own community.”

In a similar incident last month, culprits abducted an auto-rickshaw driver, and confined him on a hill for ransom money.

Senior Assistant Superintendent of district police, Md Saiful Hasan told the correspondent: “The number of murders taking place in the region could be more than what is being reported. Police have made some arrests, but motives behind these murders often remain unclear.

“The Rohingyas are not very law-abiding people, as they belonged to a society where justice is absent. Many Rohingyas were murdered because of personal enmity. Other killings were committed over establishing dominance, during kidnappings and distribution of ill-gotten money.”

‘Rohingya community is concerned’

The recent murder of Arifullah was the most talked about and gruesome murder at the camps as yet. The killers stabbed him 25 times in an overcrowded market at Balukhali camp. Arifullah's relatives are presently in hiding in fear of further attacks.

Cox’s Bazar police caught three Rohingya men in connection with Arifullah’s murder, who was the Head Majhi (Rohingya camp leader) of Balukhali camp. Some Rohingya men said the camp’s majhis are engaged in various irregularities centering aid distribution.

Mohammad Reaz, a Rohingya man who had worked as a volunteer for different aid agencies, said: “Majhis are supporting some people, and leaving others to fend for themselves. Those who are being neglected by majhis are becoming more agitated each day.”

Morjia, the wife of another murdered majhi who was brutally killed by 10-12 men at his own shelter, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Police told me to file a case against the killers of my husband, but I refused. 

“I already lost my husband. I just want to survive with my five little children. I am quite concerned about their safety.”

Discussing the camp situation, Rohingya youth Mohammad Hussain of Kutupalong D5 area said: “Security personnel and members of various aid agencies leave the camp after 5pm. 

“As the darkness of night falls on refugee camps in Balukhali and Kutupalong, culprits come out and engage in various crimes. Rohingyas, fearing for their lives, never discuss these matters in public.”

Rohingya leader Jafor Alam, who has been living in the Kutupalong Registered Refugee camp for the last 15 years, echoed the same opinion saying: “The Rohingyas’ involvement in various criminal activities is making the whole community concerned.”

Inspector Manas Barua of Cox's Bazar district Detective Branch, who is also the in-charge of Rohingya camp-related special police outpost, said: “We have only a few thousand police personnel for providing security to a million Rohingyas. It is a difficult task.”

On the last day of August, camp volunteer Md Yeaser, 25, was shot dead by 7-8 armed men at his home in Block-F. Yeaser helped the camp management in preparing lists of refugees and distributing aid. 

Locals targeted him after he informed the management committee about some illegal activities taking place inside the camp.

The local police told the Dhaka Tribune that they are making a serious effort to bring down the crime rate in the region by increasing surveillance and raising awareness against culprits living inside the camps.