Conflicts & War

172 arrested in Bangladesh since killing of Rohingya leader

Dhaka, Nov 2 (EFE)- A total 172 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in a month since the killing of Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) chairman Mohibullah in his office, the authorities reported Tuesday.

The arrests have been made at the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in the southeast of the country, Namiul Haque, the commander of the armed police battalion posted in the camp, told EFE.

Among those arrested, 10 are accused of killing Mohibullah and three of them confessed in court about their involvement in the murder.

About 114 of those held are supposed members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

“These people used to call them ARSA members. But they are not ARSA. We don’t have any ARSA here,” Haque said.

While Bangladesh does not recognize the presence of ARSA in its soil, family members of Mohibullah blamed the armed group for his killing.

Mohibullah was shot dead by an armed group in his office at the camp on Sep.29.

Mohibullah was a teacher in Myanmar’s Rakhine State when the army launched an offensive against the mainly Muslim Rohingyas in August 2017, following attacks on security checkpoints by alleged insurgents.

Like many of his fellow Rohingyas, he fled to Bangladesh, where he and several hundred volunteers founded the ARSPH in late 2017.

Mohibullah became a prominent representative of the refugees during visits to the camp by high-level delegations.

He traveled to Geneva in 2019 to address the United Nations Human Rights Council about the plight of the Rohingyas.

His killing triggered a spat of violence in the camp.

At least six Rohingyas were killed when gunmen attacked an Islamic seminary in the early hours on Oct.22.

UN refugee agency UNHCR said it has helped move some refugees to “safe locations” following the killing of Mohibullah.

“As a protection agency, UNHCR, in close cooperation with the authorities, has been taking measures to ensure the safety of those most at risk since the killing of Mohib Ullah,” UNHCR spokesperson Regina De La Portilla told EFE.

The ARSA is believed to have been behind the series of attacks in neighboring Myanmar’s northern Rakhine province in 2017, following which the army launched a brutal retaliatory campaign that led to an exodus of the Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

Some 738,000 Rohingyas have found refuge in Bangladesh from the military crackdown in Myanmar that has been described by the UN as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide. EFE


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