Philippine Daily Inquirer

DEATH STALKS RO­HINGYA REFUGEES IN WORLD’S LARGEST CAMPS IN SOUTH­ERN BANGLADESH

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DHAKA— Bangladesh is de­ploy­ing thou­sands of ex­tra po­lice to Ro­hingya refugee camps in the south af­ter a se­ries of mostly un­ex­plained killings, of­fi­cials said on Thurs­day.

Nine­teen peo­ple have been killed since Au­gust when the Ro­hingya started flow­ing into Bangladesh from Myan­mar af­ter a mil­i­tary crack­down the United Na­tions de­scribed as “eth­nic cleans­ing.”

Mo­tives un­clear

Po­lice have made a num­ber of ar­rests in con­nec­tion with some of the killings, but say the mo­tives of­ten re­main un­clear.

Con­ducted af­ter dark and of­ten by groups of men wield­ing pis­tols, knives and sticks, the killings have sent a chill through the camps, which are guarded by the Bangladesh army dur­ing the day but manned by fewer po­lice of­fi­cers at night.

Not enough cops

Po­lice of­fi­cials said there are 2,400 po­lice­men guard­ing the camps but that was not enough and it was al­ready be­ing in­creased.

“We have 1,000 po­lice of­fi­cers right now for a mil­lion peo­ple, so you can imag­ine,” said po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Afru­jul Haque Tu­tul.

More than 700,000 Ro­hingya have taken shel­ter in Cox’s Bazar dis­trict since Au­gust, mak­ing it the world’s largest and fastest grow­ing refugee camp.

Even be­fore the Au­gust ex­o­dus, there had been vi­o­lence in the camps, which Bangladesh po­lice and aid work­ers have pre­vi­ously blamed on a strug­gle for con­trol of sup­plies to the camps.

But Ro­hingya refugees also sug­gest there may be a link to Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army (Arsa) whose as­saults on Myan­mar troops in Au­gust trig­gered the crack­down that led to the del­uge of refugees.

Link to rebels

The lat­est killing, of 35-yearold Ari­ful­lah, took place last month out­side the Balukhali camp, where he was stabbed at least 25 times by a group of still uniden­ti­fied men.

Ari­ful­lah’s wife, who asked Reuters not to iden­tify her or re­veal her lo­ca­tion, said Ari­ful­lah spoke English, worked with in­ter­na­tional agen­cies in Myan­mar and was an Arsa critic.

Im­age build­ing

A spokesper­son for Arsa re­ferred Reuters to a Jan. 31 state­ment, say­ing other groups were re­spon­si­ble for killings and were only us­ing Arsa’s name to malign its im­age.

That state­ment was is­sued af­ter the Jan. 19 killing of Yusuf, an­other English-speak­ing leader who fre­quently deals with in­ter­na­tional agency of­fi­cials, who was killed by men who barged into his shel­ter while he was watch­ing foot­ball.

 ?? —AP ?? FAST GROW­ING Aview of the Ku­tu­pa­long refugee camp that UNSec­re­tary Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res vis­ited Mon­day in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
—AP FAST GROW­ING Aview of the Ku­tu­pa­long refugee camp that UNSec­re­tary Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res vis­ited Mon­day in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

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