Rohingya Robbery Suspect Killed in ‘Gunfight’ After Refugee Camp Shooting

By Muktadir Rashid   4 February 2020

DHAKA—A Rohingya refugee suspected of robbery was killed by Bangladeshi police in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the Teknaf Sub-District of Cox’s Bazar in what police called a “gunfight.” The incident occurred only hours after a dozen other Rohingya refugees were shot and injured in another shooting incident inside the vulnerable Muchuni area of Nayapara Refugee Camp.

A police official with the specialized Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) unit said the latest “gunfight” ensued during a police sweep operation at about 1:00 a.m. when they exchanged fire with a group of six to seven robbers.

During the shooting, Mohammed Elias, age 40, of Block D in Camp 26, was injured. Five to six other civilians escaped the scene during the shooting, according to officials.

The RAB headquarters issued an acknowledgement of the incident. “One of the members of notorious Rohingya robber group Zokir, robber Elias, was killed in a gunfight with RAB in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar. Arms and ammunition were recovered.” The local police, however, said the deceased had not been named in any legal case.

The RAB officials said that after the shooting, Elias was taken to the nearby Teknaf government health complex, where he was declared dead. The RAB also said that three of its officers sustained injuries during the operation, though it did not specify what type of injuries they were.

The officials said they seized two locally made firearms and four bullets.

Earlier on Monday night, police in Teknaf said that a clash involving a group of Rohingya thieves broke out in the Muchuni area of Nayapara Camp at about 8:30 p.m. Ten Rohingya refugees were shot and injured.

The officer-in-charge at Teknaf Police Station, Pradip Kumar Das, said Monday night that the clash was between groups of Rohingya thieves.

However, a senior officer with the Bangladeshi security forces told The Irrawaddy that the Zokir group carried out an attack in a local market area because they were attempting to extort local Rohingya traders but the traders had rebuffed their efforts.

The official also said that though they had intelligence about the attack, the incident took place before they could reach the location.

Among the wounded were one woman and child who sustained critical injuries and were transferred to Cox’s Bazar District Hospital for better treatment.

Local media reported that residents in the area heard nearly 50 shots on Monday evening in the Muchuni area.

The Muchuni area has been the site of shooting incidents for a long time but the situation deteriorated after armed assailants shot and killed a Rohingya paramedic and injured a computer technician in Muchuni in February 2019 for allegedly sharing information about Rohingya militant commander Nurul Alam, who was killed in a “gunfight” with Rapid Action Battalion forces.

Nurul Alam is said to have been involved in or organized a number of serious crimes committed in the area since 2016, including murders and lootings. He was also accused of helping steal arms from a Bangladesh Ansar paramilitary facility near the Nayapara Camp in May 2016. The commander of the Ansar battalion was killed during the incident.

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