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3 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 February, 2018 01:51:59 AM
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Rohingyas to be fenced in 20 Cox’s Bazar camps

Move follows security concerns ahead of next national polls
SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS, Ctg
Rohingyas to be fenced in 20 Cox’s Bazar camps

The government has decided to bring Rohingyas within restricted areas, to be covered by 20 camps, for ensuring their security and controlling their movement and curbing spread across the country. As per the decision, 18 more camps will be established in Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas of Cox’s Bazar besides two officially registered camps Kutupalong and Nayapara.

The decision is taken as Bangladesh is marching through a crucial time eying the next national election, likely to be held in December, and that the spread of Rohingyas outside designated camps may spell out security threats, according to senior government officials.

Besides, keeping all the Rohingyas accounted for is also imperative for the government as it has already initiated the repatriation process with Myanmar. If all the Rohingyas who have entered and still are entering the country are kept under a strict scrutiny, it will be possible for the government to keep track of them and knowing the actual situation on the ground.

To this effect, the authorities concerned are planning to expand camps at allocated forest land for them. Currently, many Rohingyas are living building shaky shelters at 4,901 acres of forest land.

To ensure good governance at these camps, the government has also decided to appoint officials from the BCS admin cadre or equivalent ranks for each of the camps, according to a senior government official.

“We are planning to bring all the Rohingyas under fencing in 20 camps. There will be 20 administrative officers for smooth operation of the humanitarian supports, which are being provided to them,” Abdul Mannan, divisional commissioner of Chittagong, told a meeting of the Divisional Committee on Identifying Intruded Myanmar Nationals on Tuesday (Jan 30).  

Although the government’s ultimate target is to repatriate the Rohingyas at the earliest, their security will be ensured as long as they are here and their spread will have to be stopped, he told the meeting.

If necessary, we will appoint more manpower to control them, Mannan said, adding, “In December, our national polls will be held. In such condition, it is imperative to show zero tolerance to stop the spread of Rohingyas.”

He also directed all officials, especially those serving at the Cox’s Bazar district administration, to take necessary action into the matter.

At the meeting, a decision was taken to deploy two battalions (1,500 members) of Armed Police Battalion (APBn) in the proposed 20 refugee camps.

Since August 25, last year, about 7 lakh Rohingyas had to cross into Bangladesh to escape the atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces and local Buddhist mobs. This figure is in addition to about 4.5 lakh Rohingya refugees already living in the country for a long time. Considering humanitarian ground, the government allowed the Rohingyas to cross into Bangladesh and arranged for their stay at designated camps in Cox’s Bazar.

It is alleged that the Rohingyas are spreading by the help of middlemen and there is also a group of people who are exploiting the refugees.

However, Cox’s Bazar DC Ali Hossain said his administration is taking stern action against the people who are helping the Rohingyas to come out from the camps and exploiting them.

So far four mobile courts of district administration have sentenced to 552 people on it.

At least 20 check posts have been erected in Cox’s Bazar so that the Rohingyas cannot spread from the camps. However, breaches are reported every now and then as the Rohingyas are getting help from local middlemen.

As per the report of the Cox’s Bazar district police till January 28, they have halted some 48,283 Rohingyas at different check posts while they were trying to spread from the camps to other parts of the country.

Police sources said so far some 2,000 Rohingyas who managed to spread outside of Cox’s Bazar, have been brought back to the camps.

Cox’s Bazar police said they brought back some 712 Rohingyas within the period of November to January from different districts. Excluding these numbers, Chittagong Metropolitan Police also sent back to Kutupalong refugee camp 136 Rohingyas detained from different areas in the city.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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