Bangladesh jails three Ro­hingya ex­trem­ists for 10 years

Mizzima Business Weekly - - NEWS ROUNDUPS -

ABanglades­h court last week sen­tenced three Ro­hingya ex­trem­ists of a now de­funct mil­i­tant group to 10 years in jail for pos­sess­ing bomb-mak­ing ma­te­ri­als, a pros­e­cu­tor said.

The trio were ar­rested in 2014 in Dhaka with ma­te­ri­als to be used for mak­ing im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs), said Salahud­din Howlader, a pros­e­cu­tor at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Special Tri­bunal in the cap­i­tal.

They were found guilty and sen­tenced im­me­di­ately un­der the coun­try's ex­plo­sives laws, the pros­e­cu­tor said, adding one of them was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia as he was on the run.

"They were in­volved with sev­eral in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tant out­fits in­clud­ing the RSO," he told AFP, re­fer­ring to the Ro­hingya Sol­i­dar­ity Or­gan­i­sa­tion, a small mil­i­tant group that was ac­tive in Myan­mar's north­ern Rakhine state in the 1980s and 1990s. Lo­cal me­dia, cit­ing the po­lice charge-sheet on the case, said the three men were sus­pects in the 2014 Bur­d­wan blast in the neigh­bour­ing Indian state of West Ben­gal that killed at least two peo­ple and wounded sev­eral while they were al­legedly mak­ing IEDs.

"The charge-sheet read the ac­cused ad­mit­ted plan­ning sab­o­tage in Bangladesh with the as­sis­tance of in­ter­na­tional Is­lamist ex­trem­ist out­fits," the on­line edi­tion of the mass cir­cu­la­tion Ben­gali daily Prothom Alo said.

In re­cent years, the Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army has emerged as the main armed Ro­hingya group op­er­at­ing in Myan­mar's trou­bled Rakhine state that bor­ders Bangladesh's south­east.

In Au­gust 2017, ARSA at­tacked sev­eral po­lice posts in Rakhine prompt­ing a mas­sive mil­i­tary crack­down that forced some 740,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims to flee to Bangladesh, where they are housed in squalid refugee camps. The refugees joined some 300,000 Ro­hingya who have been liv­ing in the camps for years and even decades.

Bangladesh­i se­cu­rity of­fi­cials say no ex­trem­ist groups such as ARSA or RSO op­er­ate in the camps, but this week the In­ter­na­tional Cri­sis Group said mil­i­tants were increasing their grip on the set­tle­ments and were re­spon­si­ble for the mur­der of at least one Ro­hingya camp leader.

The con­flict re­search group has urged Bangladesh to step up its po­lice pres­ence in the camps, say­ing gangs and ex­trem­ist groups were now op­er­at­ing openly in the set­tle­ments.

Threats from ex­trem­ists had left Ro­hingya lead­ers fear­ful for their lives and fre­quent mur­ders were rarely in­ves­ti­gated, the group said.

Bangladesh po­lice said the cre­ation of seven new po­lice posts, the de­ploy­ment of armed of­fi­cers and bet­ter in­tel­li­gence had im­proved se­cu­rity.

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