The inquiry comes as over 1.1 million Rohingyas living in vast camps in the coastal district face increasing hostility two years after fleeing a brutal military offensive in Myanmar
Bangladesh military yesterday said it has launched an investigation after a Rohingya family accused army troopers of raping a 12-year-old girl in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
The inquiry comes as over 1.1 million Rohingyas living in vast camps in the coastal district face increasing hostility two years after fleeing a brutal military offensive in Myanmar.
Mohammad Osman, an elder brother of the alleged victim, said three soldiers entered their shanty at the Nayapara Rohingya camp in Teknaf last Sunday evening and sexually assaulted his sister.
"She was raped as one of them tightly held her mouth," he told AFP by phone.
Bangladesh troops accused of raping 12-year-old Rohingya girl https://t.co/WpHEwvMTVD— Gulf Today (@gulftoday) October 3, 2019
Inter Services Public Relation Directorate (ISPR) Director Lt Col Abdullah Ibn Zaid confirmed AFP that they were investigating the allegations.
He said they have formed a high-level committee to investigate the incident and find out the facts. “If [the troopers are] found guilty, exemplary punishment will be given.”
According to media reports, a day after the alleged rape, the victim was treated at the Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital.
Dr Shaheen Abdur Rahman of the hospital told AFP that the girl was examined at the there, but he refused to comment on the findings due to court restrictions.
"The Bangladesh military said Thursday it has ordered an investigation after a Rohingya family in a refugee camp accused army troops of raping a 12-year-old girl."https://t.co/W71KF4lifF— Tasneem Khalil (@tasneem) October 3, 2019
A spokesman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said they were investigating the incident too.
"We are aware of the reports. In such cases, individuals are entitled to medical, physical and psychological support, as well as access to due process," UNHCR spokesman Joseph Tripura said in a statement to AFP.
Tensions have risen in recent weeks with an increasingly frustrated Bangladeshi government enacting several measures making life harder for the refugees.
The measures include blocking of mobile internet, confiscating SIM cards and mobile phones and filing hundreds of cases for illegally obtaining citizenship cards.
UN experts have expressed "serious concerns" about the restrictions.
Last week, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that barbed-wire fencing, guard towers and cameras would be erected around the Rohingya camps, sparking criticism from rights groups.
Checkpoints set up on the main highways leading to the camps have stopped Rohingya and sent them back to the settlements when they try to travel to other parts of Bangladesh.
Hundreds of Rohingyas found elsewhere in the country have also been detained and returned to the camps.
Authorities say the internet ban was sparked by security fears after the Rohingyas were blamed for the murder of a local politician and drug smuggling.
More than a dozen Rohingyas – most accused of involvement in the murder of the politician – were also killed in so-called gunfights with security forces in recent weeks.
Officials said yesterday 45 Rohingyas were also charged with infiltration and jailed a day after they were detained illegally working in a ship-breaking yard in Chittagong.
Rights activists have said this could be the first time Rohingyas have been charged with infiltration – an offence that carries five years in jail.