UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Bangladesh police said on Sunday they had shot dead a fourth Rohingya refugee after he was shot dead in connection with a killing of a ruling party official that sparked violent local reactions.
Violence has erupted in recent weeks in refugee camps in south-eastern Bangladesh, where about one million Rohingya live after fleeing security operations carried out by the Burmese authorities.
Five Rohingya were killed in clashes in the camps, believed to be linked to gang-related violence, while an Awami League official was shot in the head in Gadimura camp in the border town of Teknaf in late August.
Police blamed “Rohingya hired” for the killing of the official, identified as Omar Farouk, and killed three refugees last week for their alleged links to the crime.
Among the latest dead was Nur Mohammad, 36, who police officials suspect is the leader of a Rohingya gang who arrived in Bangladesh in 1992 and is active in the vicinity of refugee camps.
Local officials point out that Nur Mohammed was a drug trafficker involved in the exploitation of refugees coming across the border from Burma for this purpose.
“He was arrested in connection with the killing of Faruq on Saturday,” police spokesman Iqbal Hussain told AFP. “We took him to look for his weapons on a hill and then his aides opened fire on the police (Sunday).”
He added, “We returned fire and later found the body of Mohammed, which was pierced by several bullets.”
Human rights organizations have accused Bangladesh police of carrying out extrajudicial killings.
Hundreds of angry residents near Gadimura camp stormed the site after Farooq was killed, looting and destroying dozens of Rohingya homes and shops.
Police said they had stepped up security at the camp, but the European Commission said some refugees had fled Gadimura and sought refuge in other locations following the violence.
Humanitarian activities by aid agencies have also been disrupted by the unrest, affecting some 100,000 people, UNHCR said.
The leader of the Rohingya group, Mohamed Nour, told AFP of a “tense” atmosphere in the camps, noting that the refugees “live in a state of panic.”
The incident follows the failure of a second attempt to start repatriating some 740,000 people who fled the Burmese authorities’ operation targeting the Muslim minority in 2017.
The number of Rohingya killed by security forces in Bangladesh has reached 34 since 2017, according to police statistics.
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