Tension soars between locals and Rohingyas
Tensions ran high in Teknaf’s Hnila union yesterday after some Rohingya criminals killed a Jubo League leader at a refugee camp in the area on Thursday night.
The Rohingyas at the camp feared that something bad might happen in the fallout from the murder. They were not going out unless there was an emergency.
Locals were also cautious about moving about near the camp, inhabited by nearly 10,000 Rohingyas.
Thirty-year-old Omar Faruk, president of Hnila Union Parishad Jubo League, was found murdered in Jadimura area early Friday. His family alleged that he had been picked up by some Rohingyas before being murdered.
ABM Masud Hossain, superintendent of police in Cox’s Bazar, told The Daily Star that Faruk had an altercation with the leader of a Rohingya gang at the camp. At one point, the gang members shot him in the head, leaving him dead.
As the news spread, hundreds of locals blocked the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf highway in protest on Friday morning. Later, they vandalised a couple of houses and shops at the camp.
Early yesterday, two Rohingyas, accused in a case filed over the murder, were killed in a “gunfight” with police in the same area.
Visiting the camp later in the day, The Daily Star correspondent found the situation tense.
Many of the Rohingyas said a sense of panic gripped them following the vandalism on Friday.
Meanwhile, Faruk’s brother, Amir Hamza, alleged that the victim was killed by some Rohingya goons hired by his political rivals. He said his brother wanted to be a member candidate for Ward-9 in the upcoming Hnila union parishad election.
Hamza demanded justice.
Talking to The Daily Star, many locals said the murder has left them furious.
Jashim Uddin, a grocer from Jadimura village, said as time passed, locals’ attitude towards the refugees has changed.
He said he had lent help to many Rohingyas when they first arrived in the area in 2017 fleeing persecution in Myanmar. But now, things are different as some Rohingyas allegedly forced him to shift his small shop elsewhere.
Several locals alleged that some Rohingya gangs were engaged in criminal activities in the area. They also blamed the Rohingya influx for hike in prices of essentials and transport costs.
Hamidul Haque Chowdhury, chairman of Ukhiya upazila, said they initially thought the Rohingyas would go back to their homeland soon, but that did not happen.
Contacted, Rohingya leader Mujib Ullah, head Majhi of Thengkhali camp, said they too were suffering due to the Rohingya gangs.
“We’re the real sufferers. We are the real victims of the gangs,” he said.
Boni Amin, a Rohingya man at the Kutupalong Rohingya camp, told The Daily Star that they wanted peace. He said there was rising anger among the host communities due to different crimes committed by the Rohingya gangs.
Abul Mansur, officer-in-charge of Ukhiya Police Station, said they were taking steps to avert any untoward situation between the Rohingyas and the host communities.
“We held talks with locals in this regard,” he said.