Bangladesh fears fresh militancy with unrest in Myanmar

DHAKA, June 16 — The outbreak of sectarian violence in neighbouring Myanmar’s bordering Rakhine state apparently exposed frontier south-eastern region of Bangladesh to threats of militancy afresh, security officials and public representatives said.

A report released today by Bangladesh National News Agency BSS said the government is very much concerned about fresh activities of militant Rohingya groups while sectarian violence continues in Myanmar.

Bangladesh already rejected UNHCR’s request to provide shelter to Rohingya refugees while country’s foreign minister Dipu Moni stated in parliament that Dhaka was unwilling to accommodate fresh influx of Rohingyas also because its own security concerns. She asked the UNHCR to put pressure on Myanmar government to control the sectarian violence in Rakhine state and stop influx of Rohingya Muslims.

Quoting a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) senior official, the BSS report said orders were issued for intensified vigil amid reports that the radical and extreme right wing Rohingya groups reappeared at the scene after years of their visible hibernation in the wake of increased security clampdown.

“There are several radical nationalist and Islamist organisations of Rohingya groups like RSO, Arakan Movement, Arakan Peoples Party and Harkatul Jihad and some of them are linked to militant activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, chairman of bordering Teknaf upazila (sub-district) Shafique Mia feared the foreign assistance in terms of money somehow was “reaching the militants to carryout their clandestine activities where the two makeshift camps of Kutupalang were accommodating the “documented” Rohingya refugees,

“I am afraid the Rohingya camps became militant hideout and they are alluring Rohingya youths to join them,” he said as clashes in Buddhist dominated Rakhine state sparked earlier this month were forcing boatloads of Muslim Rohingyas to flee their home in their bid to take makeshift refuge in Bangladesh territory.

Police superintendent of another bordering district Cox’s Bazar Selim Mohammad Jahangir told BSS the terrorists might have taken the scope of their refugee status in their “protected” camps run with UNHCR assistance.

“The refugee camps are sensitive areas . . . the terrorists might take advantage of the sensitivity as police can’t raid there without specific information or just on the basis of suspicion,” he said.

Security officials told BSS that the militants had links for over a decade and 41 militants were arrested from a training camp of Ukiya in Bangladesh on February 19 in 1996 along with huge quantity of arms while Rohingya militant Nurul Islam was found to be their trainer. They said they received information that Nurul Islam was now staying somewhere in Teknaf along with several other Rohingya militants.

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