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Dhaka Tribune

Rohingyas' presence in 11 Chittagong districts raises security red flags

  • Rohingyas found in 11 districts of Chittagong division
  • Security threats and illegal activities increase
  • Concerns raised about drug and arms trades
  • Challenges in controlling criminal activities
Update : 21 Jul 2023, 03:24 PM

The presence of Rohingyas is not limited to Cox's Bazar or Teknaf's Ukhiya camps alone – they are now spread across 11 districts of Chittagong division. 

This poses significant security threats and gives rise to various illegal activities, including drug-related issues. Moreover, Rohingyas scattered throughout the country continue to pose a constant security concern.

Addressing these challenges effectively is crucial to prevent further deterioration of the situation, as pointed out by reliable sources. Law enforcement agencies claim they are taking necessary actions after assessing the situation. 

Law enforcement officials overseeing Chittagong Range and Cox's Bazar are concerned that Rohingya camps have become safe havens for criminal groups. To prevent Rohingyas from getting involved in criminal activities, steps need to be taken regarding mobile network regulation and media platforms based on apps should be closely monitored.

Apart from Cox's Bazar, Rohingyas are intermingling with people in Chittagong, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Rangamati, Comilla, Chandpur, Brahmanbaria, Noakhali, Laksmipur and Feni. Local brokers play a role in their dispersal from the camps to different areas.

Unscrupulous gangs have facilitated the escape of many Rohingyas out of the country by obtaining union parishad certificates, national identity cards and passports. Consequently, Rohingyas have been apprehended at various airports while attempting to leave the country. The business of providing certificates and documents to brokers is thriving.

According to intelligence officials, there are 33 camps in Teknaf and Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar as well as Noakhali's Bhasan Char occupied by over 1.2 million Rohingyas. 

However, these camps, once meant to provide shelter, have now become hubs of criminal activities. Drug and arms trades are being orchestrated from within the camps, with law enforcement facing challenges in curbing these crimes. Criminals have gained control over the Rohingya camps, resulting in several Rohingyas being killed in encounters with law enforcement.

Efforts to curb Rohingya-related crimes have seen limited success, with instances of kidnappings, extortion and killings causing great concern for security forces. An increase in internal conflicts among Rohingyas has also become alarming.

Highlighting the severity of the situation, Additional DIG of Police Chittagong Range Mahfuzur Rahman said Rohingyas have spread across 11 districts within the Chittagong Range, engaging in various criminal activities and posing security threats. Authorities are actively investigating how Rohingyas are leaving the camps and exiting the country.

The police's Anti Terrorism Unit recognizes that controlling the involvement of Rohingyas in militant groups is a significant challenge. A collective effort is required to tackle this issue, and extensive security measures are being taken. Special camps have been set up in Teknaf and Ukhiya to monitor Rohingya activities, and nationwide operations are conducted by the Anti-Terrorism Unit. Any scattered Rohingyas are traced based on intelligence information, and efforts are made to bring them under the law.

Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of RAB'S legal and media wing, said Rohingya criminality is on the rise, and some top leaders of militant organizations have been arrested near Rohingya camps. The intention was to recruit Rohingyas back to their respective groups. Vital information was acquired from these arrests, and investigations are ongoing.

Additionally, Rohingyas have become involved in yaba trade, causing headaches for the Department of Narcotics Control. They employ various tactics to distribute yaba tablets throughout the country after leaving the camps, making them difficult to apprehend.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal acknowledged that Rohingyas have become a detrimental influence, engaging in a range of criminal activities. 

He highlighted that Myanmar's separatist groups are fuelling these crimes, prompting law enforcement to take measures in response.

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