CM – Rohingyas in Bangladesh camps in fear after a series of murders


Agence France-Presse. Kutupalong, Bangladesh |

Published: 11:44 AM, 11/6/2021

| Updated: 4:14 PM, 11/06/2021

Blood stains still mark the spot where Mohib Ullah, a leading voice of the 850,000 Rohingyas living in fear in various camps in Bangladesh, was brutally killed by unknown murderers.

In the weeks since the murder Another senior member of the now shocked volunteer group that Mohib Ullah led received phone calls telling him he would be next. And he’s not alone.

« They can chase you the way they brazenly shot our leader and so many people, » Noor, who was too scared to give his real name or be filmed, told AFP.

« They, » he believes, are members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, an insurgent group fighting the Myanmar military but also believed to be behind a wave of murders and criminal activity in the camps.

Most Rohingya have been in the camps since 2017 when they fled a brutal military offensive in the predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, where the predominantly Muslim minority are cursed as illegal immigrants.

As they refuse to return until they are safe and equal rights are guaranteed, the Rohingyas remain trapped in huts made of bamboo and tarpaulin with no work, poor sanitation and little education for their children.

Overflowing latrines fill the Monsoon season, narrow mud paths filled with excrement, and during the hot summers, fires can tear through the poor houses in minutes.

During the day, the Bangladeshi authorities ensure safety. But at night the camps become the domain of gangs – allegedly linked to ARSA – who are smuggling millions of dollars’ worth of methamphetamine out of Myanmar.

« The scenario is different once the sun goes down, » said Israfil, a Rohingya, who has only one name, to AFP.

« The dark times are the long hours in which you do what you want, » he added.

Amid the chaos and unrest in the camps documented Mohib Ullah and his colleagues quietly highlighted the crimes his people had suffered by the Myanmar military while pushing for better conditions.

The former teacher became famous in 2019 when he held a protest of around 100,000 to mark the two-year exodus People organized in the camps.

That year he met US President Donald Trump in the White House and spoke at a UN meeting in Geneva.

They saw Mohib Ullah as the only voice threatening their position who represent the Rohingya tt – one who was against their violence, say his colleagues and human rights activists.

« He became a thorn in the side of ARSA, » said Nur Khan Liton, a top right-wing activist in Bangladesh.

Three weeks after Murder of Mohib Ullah At the end of September, armed men and machete wielding assailants killed seven people in an Islamic seminary that allegedly refused to pay ARSA protection money.

“The brutal slaughter bore all traces of ARSA. The group previously slaughtered at least two high-ranking Islamic clergy for not supporting the violent struggle of ARSA, « said a senior foreign Rohingya activist.

 » ARSA carried out the murders to gain full control in the camps gain. After the last bloodbath everyone seems to have been silenced, « he added, asking to remain anonymous.

After the attack on the seminar, the UN Refugee Agency called on the Bangladeshi authorities to » take immediate action to improve security in the refugee camps ”.

A series of killings in the turf war in 2019 prompted the Bangladeshi army to erect barbed wire fences around the camps. The elite battalion of armed police has been tasked with patrolling the area.

The police have also conducted a series of security operations that have killed dozens of suspected Rohingya drug traffickers.

But despite doing dozens of people because of them arrested after the murder of Mohib Ullah, they deny the activities of ARSA and instead accuse “rivalries” in the camps.

“ARSA is not present in the camps,” Naimul Haque, the Kutupalong camp commander, insisted on AFP .

Members of Mohib Ullah’s group are far from reassured and say their security concerns are falling on deaf ears.

Some even mutter that ARSA and the Bangladesh security forces are in cahoots – which Dhaka vehemently denies.

Kyaw Min, a senior Rohingya leader, said police help ARSA « rule » at night by « practically » not being around when they operate.

An M On the day before his death, Ullah sent a letter to the Bangladeshi authorities that could be viewed by AFP but not independently verified.

He named 70 men in the camps whom he said were ARSA members and said he and his colleagues feared for their lives.

Family members of senior Rohingya leaders told AFP that Bangladeshi security forces have since relocated at least six families, including Mohib Ullah’s, for fear that they could be attacked.

“We thought we were safe in Bangladesh. But now we don’t know when the murderers will knock on our doors, « said activist Sa Phyo Thida to AFP.

 » Just like those days of the genocide in Myanmar in 2017, when we feared the death squad lived in the military, we now live in extreme fear. ”

Editor: Nurul Kabir, Edited by Chairman, Editorial Board ASM Shahidullah Khan
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