Cox’s Bazar – A fierce gunfight between rival armed groups in refugee camps in the southern Bangladesh has left at least five Rohingya men dead, police said on Friday.
The gun battled rocked in the morning between the members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, (ARSA) an armed insurgent group, and its rival Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) in Ukhiya of the sprawling camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Police found the bullet-riddled bodies of three Rohingya men inside the camp and discovered two others at a hospital where they were taken in a critical condition, said officer Amir Zafar of Armed Police Battalion, which has been maintaining security at the camps.
The gunfight lasted for nearly an hour according to camp residents.
The insurgent group ARSA is blamed for carrying out the attacks on security posts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state in 2017 that led to a brutal military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims and subsequently their mass exodus into neighbouring Bangladesh. RSO is also an insurgent group that opposed the ARSA.
Intelligence sources said both groups are active in Bangladeshi camps where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims are sheltered after they fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Nearly 750,000 of them crossed the border after the 2017 clampdown that left numerous Rohingya men and women killed and tortured.
A parliamentary committee in February was informed that at least 11 armed groups are active in the Rohingya camps. The groups clash among them very frequently over establishing supremacy in drug trading, extortion and human trafficking.
More than 130 killings were reported inside the Rohingya camps, mostly as a result of infighting among the groups, between August 25, 2017 and December 31, 2022, according to the government report.
The law enforcement agencies launched an operation inside the camp to arrest the members of the armed groups responsible for the gunfight and the killing.