Criminals fleece Rohingyas running for safety

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Publication Date: 1 September  2017
Media: The Independent

Criminals fleece Rohingyas running for safety

SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS, from Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar

Criminals are allegedly looting and torturing fleeing Rohingyas in Bangladesh territory, after the hapless people have escaped from persecution by the Myanmarese military, Border Guard Police (BGP) and local Buddhists. Law enforcement agencies are trying to prevent such incidents and have taken disciplinary measures against some such criminals.

A mobile court yesterday (Thursday) sentenced a man to six months’ imprisonment for snatching jewellery and goods. He was identified as Nurul Amin, 50. “He was caught red-handed on Thursday morning while snatching valuables of Rohingyas at Shahporirdwip. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the crime,” said Zahid Hossain Siddique, the Teknaf upazila nirbahi officer who headed the mobile court.

Visiting Bangladesh-Myanmar border points, this correspondent found many Rohingyas lamenting that miscreants looted their money, jewellery and livestock. They alleged that after they had crossed the border, some persons halted them on the way to unregistered refugee camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf, looted their valuables and tortured them. There are also cases of fleeing Rohingyas being abducted.

The Rohingya Muslims, who have been forced to leave their country, manage to bring very little gold and money. Many enter Bangladesh empty-handed as the Myanmarese security forces are setting their houses on fire.

After the difficult task of dodging security forces of the two countries, miscreants are allegedly taking away all their possessions in remote areas.

On Tuesday night, six Rohingya women and children crossed the Bangladesh border through Khanjorpra of Teknaf. Some miscreants, who were lying in wait, snatched seven “bhori” of gold and Tk. 22,000 in cash.

“We were also beaten up,” said Josna Begum,45, hailing from Shillkhali of Maungdaw.

A group of Rohingyas who fled from Maungdaw on Wednesday, was accosted by criminals in the remote hilly area of the Rezuamtal border point in Naikhonchhori.

“I had 22 cows. When we reached the Bangladesh border, some people made three attempts to take away our cows, money and jewellery in the remote hilly area. We shouted and as there were many of us, the criminals could not take our valuables and money. After crossing the border, I sold all my 22 cows with the help of the police,” said Md Khalil, waiting at North Ghumdhum of Naikhonchhori border on Wednesday evening.

The miscreants beat them up. Even the women were not spared, said Shaidullah and Khalil.

“As miscreants are snatching cows from these hapless people, we are helping then to sell their cows,” said sub-inspector Zamir Uddin of Naikhonchhori police station. This correspondent saw some 50 cows at North Ghumdhum border points.

Some of the Rohingya youths were seen returning to Myanmar to protect their relatives crossing the border.

“I am going to Myanmar to bring my parents. They will come with some money, but there is risk of it being snatched on the way,” said Shahinur.

Rohingya women are the most vulnerable in the remote hilly area.

“We are afraid of torture as we heard some women have been abducted here,” said Hasina Begum who had fled from Nasidaung.

The crime-prone areas are Unchhiprang, Lambabeel and Kkanjopara of Teknaf, Rezuamtal of Naikhonchhori. Many such incidents have taken place here.

Law enforcement agencies detained several people for harassing Rohingya refugees. The BGB rescued an abducted woman from the Rezuamtal area and nabbed her abductors. The BGB also rescued some looted valuables and cows and returned them to the Rohingyas. In all, 155 cows seized from criminals were sold in auction as no owners were found.

“We have seized many cows from criminals and returned them to Rohingyas. Many people of Bangladesh are taking away valuables from the Rohingyas. We are trying to resist it. On Wednesday, we seized 25 cows stolen from Rohingyas,” said Major Iqbal Ahmed, Deputy Director of the BGB-34 Battalion.

Moin Uddin, officer-in-charge (OC) of Teknaf police station, told The Independent: “I am not aware of such incidents. Our patrol teams are there at Unchhiprang, Khanjorpara and Lambarbeel. If we get such complaints, we will take stern action.”

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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