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Three Rohingya killed in Bangladesh refugee camp turf war

By AFP

June 11, 2024 01:23 PM


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At least three Rohingya refugees were killed and seven others were injured after a clash between rival militant groups vying for control over relief camps in Bangladesh, police said Tuesday.

Bangladesh is home to one million members of the stateless and persecuted Muslim minority, most of whom arrived after a brutal 2017 military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

Nearly all live in sprawling and squalid camps, where skirmishes between armed groups have risen this year after the forcible recruitment of refugees to fight in Myanmar's civil war.

Police said at least 100 members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Monday attacked a group of refugees conducting a security patrol in a camp in Cox's Bazar district.

"They cut barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp and launched the attack on Rohingyas who were protecting the camp," said Mohammad Iqbal, a commanding officer of the Armed Police Battalion, which is tasked with maintaining security in the camps.

"Three Rohingyas were killed and seven were injured. When police came to the spot, ARSA members also attacked police," he told AFP, adding that the victims had been variously shot and attacked with knives.

A Rohingya community leader in the camps, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said the three slain men were members of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO).

"Murders and gunfights are occurring every day and night in the camp. ARSA killed three RSOs yesterday. No Rohingya are safe here. ARSA and RSO have made the camps hell for the Rohingya refugees," he said.

Security in the camps has deteriorated since April after rival Rohingya groups launched drives to forcibly recruit young Rohingya men and teenage boys to fight in Myanmar.

Around 1,500 Rohingya have been dragooned from the camps to join the conflict, according to a confidential report circulated among UN agencies last month and seen by AFP.

Anxious parents and Rohingya civic leaders have set up patrol groups in the camps to thwart recruitment raids.

At least 20 Rohingya have been killed in camp clashes between rival militant groups this year, national daily Prothom Alo reported.

Rival Rohingya armed groups are waging individual campaigns to furnish troops for Myanmar's military, responsible for their violent expulsion from the country in 2017.

These groups say the Rohingya need to ally with old enemies in the Myanmar army to face a new threat.

The recruits have been sent across the border to fight the Arakan Army, which says it wants greater autonomy in Myanmar's Rakhine state, also home to around 600,000 Rohingya.


AFP


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