7 killed, 10 injured in Bangladesh's Rohingya camps clashes

Police official says situation under control now, but more law enforcers deployed in Cox's Bazar to avoid any untoward incident.

7 killed, 10 injured in Bangladesh's Rohingya camps clashes

Two armed groups of Rohingya refugees clashed early Friday morning in Bangladesh's southeastern Cox's Bazar camps, leaving at least seven dead and 10 injured, officials confirmed.

Armed clashes erupted in the Ukhiya camps a day after the Bangladesh Home Ministry said security measures at Rohingya refugee camps will be beefed up in the wake of the recent killing of Rohingya leader, Mohibullah.

An on-duty official from the Armed Police Battalion, who declined to give his name because he is not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed the number of deaths and the use of firearms during the fight but did not explain the reasons.

However, sources in the camp said unidentified men attacked an Islamic seminary at Block H-52 of Camp No 18 before daybreak. Local law enforcers have so far arrested a man on suspicion of involvement in the clash.

"The district police and other law enforcers have already begun operations to detain perpetrators behind the armed clash," Md Hasanuzzaman, Cox's Bazar district police chief, told Anadolu Agency, fearing that the death toll might rise.

"Situation at the refugee camps is under control now," the police official said. However, additional law enforcers have been deployed to avoid any further untoward situation, he added.

Some groups in Cox's Bazar, which houses about 1.2 million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar's Rakhine state after a deadly military crackdown in August 2017, have been involved in shooting incidents in the past, which law enforcement officials blamed on "Rohingya robbers" or "smugglers."

Ansar Ali, a Rohingya community leader in the camps, alleged that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is to blame for the killings and chaos.

"ARSA men have been trying to control the refugee camps," he told Anadolu Agency, "and they often conduct secret killing operations if anyone tries to protest them."

Earlier, police arrested five suspected ARSA members for their alleged involvement in the murder of Mohibullah.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Thursday that the government had held talks with all concerned parties and stakeholders to maintain law and order and overall security in Cox's Bazar and the Bhasan Char island, where 20,000 Rohingya have been relocated this year.

Hüseyin Demir