Violence and criminal activities in Rohingya camps

Beef up security in and around the camps

Published : 11 Aug 2022 08:48 PM

The killing of two Rohingyas again reminds us that the law and order situation in the Cox's Bazar camps is getting deteriorated and complicated day by. Reportedly, two Rohingya refugee leaders shot dead at a refugee camp in the Ukhia of the district in the early hours of Wednesday. It is worth mentioning that several killings happened across the refugee camps in the last five years.

At least 20 organised armed gangs are now active in the Rohingya refugee camps. Some 101 Rohingyas were killed in the last five years in internal conflicts among these gangs while 109 others including three women died in gunfights with security forces. 

At least 20 organised armed gangs 

are now active in the Rohingya camps

Earlier, the killing of Mohammad Mohib Ullah, a prominent community leader who campaigned for the Rohingya’s safe repatriation, brought the issue of security and crimes in the camps into sharp focus both at home and abroad. 

After the murder some measures were taken to bring the security situation under control. But the steps could not stop criminal activities there yet.  

Since August 25 in 2017, Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.2 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and other rights groups dubbed as "genocide". 

Since then, Rohingyas formed at least 20 gangs, who are now involved in serious crimes like arms and drugs peddling, human trafficking, gold smuggling, kidnapping and killing. 

They are also committing robbery, burglary, cyber crime, sexual harassment and running illegal SIM and hundi trading. These organised displaced Rohingya armed groups are also running juvenile gangs in order to serve their purposes. Besides, they are also grabbing the local people’s lands in many ways.                  

Myanmar, however, has not taken back a single Rohingya in the last five years yet while repatriation attempts failed twice due to trust deficit among the forcibly displaced people about their safety and security in Rakhine state. 

Therefore, Rohingyas are becoming frustrated due to protracted uncertainty over their repatriation which has a potential risk as it entices many of them to get involved in criminal activities.

The UN, other foreign countries and right bodies now should come forward and extend all out cooperation to Bangladesh to ensure smooth repatriation of Rohingyas. 

There is an impact on social security and social stability of Bangladesh due to the presence of over 1.1 million Rohingyas here. As it is a big threat to our national security, all stakeholders should sincerely work to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis.