Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Unregistered Arakanese Rohingya refugees of Kutupalong makeshift camp are under pressure from police and local villagers, according to refugees from Kutupalong camp.

Yesterday, 14 Arakanese Rohingya refugees from Kutupalong camp were arrested by Ukhiya police on their way to Cox’s Bazar to find work. They are forced to go out of the camp to fend for themselves though they are not permitted to go out, the refugees added. 

Besides, yesterday, 49 Arakanese Rohingya refugees including women from Kutupalong makeshift camp were also arrested by the camp police while they were returning to their sheds after collecting firewood from the nearby forest. They do not get aid from any quarter and are confined in the camp like prisoners without food and water, but prisoners regularly get food and water, said a refugee from the Kutupalong camp.  

A total of 63 Arakanese Rohingya refugees were arrested from Kutupalong makeshift camp by police yesterday alone. The children and women of arrested family members become beggars in the camp because of no work, no money, and no food to feed their children, the refugee added. 

To make matters worse, some of the Arakanese Rohingya refugee women were raped in the forest by local goons while collecting firewood. Of them, two victims were identified as Ms Shorok Banu (not real name) (30), mother of two sons and Ms Hasina Khatoon (not real name) (11).  Some have not been identified because they were reluctant to admit rape, an elder told Kaladan Press. 

However, 55 Arakanese Rohingya refugees out of the arrested were pushed back to Burma by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and another eight refugees were sent to Cox’s Bazar jail in the evening on the day.

According to our correspondent, from Teknaf, the BDR is constantly patrolling the border areas and arrest Arakanese Rohingya people who cross the Burma-Bangladesh border. They release those who are able to show their refugee identity cards.

On February 19, after 9 pm,  three Arakanese Rohingya refugee students of Nayapara  camp  were arrested by camp police while they were returning to their sheds after coaching was over in the camp. However, they were released after an agreement that they will never do it again. The police told them that education is not necessary for refugees. A week before, curfew was imposed in the camp and refugees are not allowed to go out from their sheds after 9 pm, said a refugee requesting not to be named. 

A refugee elder from the makeshift camp said, “Family members have been facing acute food crisis after heads of families were arrested by police and sent to jail. The family members of those who were sent to jail were also arrested while going or returning from the Cox’s Bazar jail and pushed back to Burma.”