Bangladesh ar­rests sus­pect in mur­der of Ro­hingya lead­ers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bangladesh po­lice have ar­rested a man sus­pected of mur­der­ing two Ro­hingya lead­ers in the coun­try’s south­east where tens of thou­sands from the group are liv­ing in camps af­ter flee­ing per­se­cu­tion in Myan­mar, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. Dhaka es­ti­mates that 400,000 Ro­hingya refugees are now in Bangladesh, with 70,000 ar­riv­ing since Oc­to­ber when Myan­mar se­cu­rity forces launched a bru­tal crack­down on the mi­nor­ity group in neigh­bor­ing Rakhine state in re­sponse to mil­i­tant at­tacks on po­lice posts.

Dost Mo­ham­mad, a 32-year-old Ro­hingya man, was ar­rested Sun­day from one of the many squalid camps in Bangladesh’s coastal dis­trict of Cox’s Bazar, which bor­ders Rakhine and where thou­sands of the eth­nic Mus­lim mi­nor­ity now live in grind­ing poverty. Po­lice said Mo­ham­mad was caught at Naya­para camp in pos­ses­sion of firearms, am­mu­ni­tion and drugs af­ter a long man­hunt. “He is a key sus­pect in the mur­der of two refugee lead­ers,” lo­cal po­lice chief Main­ud­din Khan said.

The ar­rest comes amid re­ports that young Ro­hingya in the Bangladeshi camps are try­ing to join in­sur­gents in Myan­mar. A Ro­hingya shop­keeper in Naya­para said on con­di­tion of anonymity that Mo­ham­mad and his group fought with oth­ers in the camps. “They are like a bunch of hooli­gans. Many say they are mem­bers of RSO,” he said, re­fer­ring to a Ro­hingya in­sur­gent group who were ac­tive in the Bangladeshi Ro­hingya refugee camps in the early 1990s but are now widely con­sid­ered de­funct.

Other com­mu­nity lead­ers de­scribed Mo­ham­mad as “short tem­pered” but said the mur­der al­le­ga­tions were “base­less”. “His fa­ther lives in Saudi Ara­bia, and sis­ter in Aus­tralia. They reg­u­larly send him money, he didn’t work. He quar­reled with oth­ers in the camp,” said Mirza Ghalib, a Ro­hingya refugee from the Naya­para camp. “But killing some­one or pos­sess­ing il­le­gal weapons is an un­be­liev­able ac­cu­sa­tion against him.” Lo­cal law en­force­ment of­ten blames the Ro­hingya for crimes in­clud­ing drug traf­fick­ing.

Po­lice ar­rested sev­eral Ro­hingya men over an at­tack on a po­lice check­point in Bangladesh last year when the com­man­der of the check­point was killed. Bangladesh has floated the idea of re­lo­cat­ing tens of thou­sands of Ro­hingya refugees to a re­mote is­land off its coast, de­spite op­po­si­tion from rights groups.—AFP

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