At least 28 Rohingyas, including two women, were killed in reported incidents of gunfight with law enforcement agencies and four others were found killed in Cox’s Bazar over their suspected involvement in drug peddling, robbery, abductions and human trafficking in 2019.
The law enforcers, mainly Teknaf police, said that the reported gunfights occurred as crime suspects open fire at them while Rohingya leaders alleged that many of the deceased were held or detained earlier and then killed in ‘gunfights’.
The home minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, said that despite all efforts, Rohingyas were getting involved in Yaba smuggling from Myanmar even risking life.
He said that exchanges of fire might have taken place as the Border Guard Bangladesh was instructed to guard the border and not to allow any unwarranted people to enter the country.
‘Those who have not challenged [law enforcement agency] are in jail,’ said the minister, adding that Rohingyas were not invited but given shelter to protect their lives.
Cox’s Bazar police statistics showed that 13 Rohingyas were killed between January 1 and May 19, 2019.
Of the 13, one was killed by the Rapid Action Battalion and five by the Border Guard Bangladesh in reported gunfights with similar narratives.
The rest seven — five suspected in drug peddling and two in human trafficking — were killed in reported gunfights with police mostly at Teknaf.
Teknaf police station officer-in-charge Pradip Kumar Das said that Rohingyas were getting involved in crimes and few of them got killed in ‘gunfights’ with law enforcers.
According to a New Age tally, 28 Rohingyas were killed in reported gunfights between January and August 16, 2019 and bullet hit bodies of four Rohingyas were found at Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar.
Of the 28 Rohingyas, 4 were killed in August, 1 in July, 6 in June, 4 in May, 5 in April, 4 in March,
2 in February and 2 in January.
Of the four bullet-hit bodies, two family members of a wanted accused were found killed in August and the rest two were found shot dead in January.
Dhaka University law professor Mizanur Rahman, also former National Human Rights Commission chairman, said that under no circumstances any person could be killed in the name of ‘gunfight’.
Although Rohingyas in Bangladesh were not formally termed refugees, he said, it was the host country’s responsibility to show respect to human rights of the displaced people.
On February 22, Nurul Alam, 35, accused of robbery at Ansar Battalion camp and murder of its commander, was killed in a reported gunfight with the Rapid Action Battalion at Teknaf.
Nurul was arrested in February 2017 in the case filed for looting arms from the Ansar camp near Nayapara Rohingya camp on May 13, 2016. He was later released on bail in December 2017.
On April 6, 2019, three Rohingya youths — Nurul Alam, 23, of Block B, Md Zubaer, 20, of Block H and Hamid Ullah, 20, Block H of Nayapara camp — were killed in a ‘gunfight’ with police at near Habrghona hill area of Teknaf.
Police officials said that the three were associates of 2016 Nayapara Ansar
camp looting suspect Nurul Alam, who was killed in ‘gunfight’ with the Rapid Action Battalion on February 22.
Nurul Alam and Zubaer were reportedly detained by Nayapara police on April 3 on charge of abducting a child of Rohingya community leader Mohammad Yasin in the camp on March 27, according to local media.
On April 2, the abductors released the boy reportedly for a ransom of Tk 5 lakh, according to media reports.
Teknaf-based online Teknaf Today on April 3, 2019 quoting Nayapara police camp sub-inspector Abdus Salam reported that the two were detained for abduction and both were handed over to Teknaf police station.
On April 6 evening, sub-inspector Abdus Salam denied that he had arrested them and suggested to talk to Teknaf police officer-in-charge Pradip Kumar Das, who claimed he was on leave.
On April 22, two more Rohingyas were killed in a reported gunfight with Border Guard Bangladesh during an anti-drug drive at Palagnkhali of Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar.
Police received the bodies of Saiful Islam and Mohamed Faruk, both in their early twenties and residents at Thyankhali camp. Border guard officials claimed that the incident took place near Keruntali bridge at Palangkhali at about 3:00am.
They also seized 20,000 pieces of Yaba and two knives from the spot.
Both of them arrived in Bangladesh following the August 25, 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar.
Thaynkhali camp Rohingya community leader Mohamed Ali said that Saiful and Farul went out of the camp on April 19.
‘We came to know that they were caught by BGB with Yaba on April 21 and finally they were killed,’ said Ali, adding, ‘I am not sure about the Yaba as I haven’t seen those.’
On March 28, two more Rohingyas — Faruk Mia, 19, and Mohamed Elias, 18, of Buthidaung in Myanmar but used to live in Balukhali and Kutupalng camps since August 25, 2017, were killed in a gunfight with border guards and 1.90 lakh Yaba pills were seized.
On March 30, suspected female Rohingya drug peddler Romana Akhter, 22, died on the spot during a reported gunfight with border guards at Teknaf.
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