Intra-group clash in Rohingya camp is an ominous sign of extreme uncertainty

10 October 2020


A TENSE situation persists in the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar amid heightened security following the killing of seven people in clashes in Kutupalong camp in the last few days. At least 10 sheds of 10 Rohingya families were torched at the Kutupalong camp apparently in continuation of a series of intra-group clashes. Amid the situation, police intensified patrolling and strengthened coordination with the agencies working inside the camps. Law enforcers and UNHCR must coordinately work to ease the tension and establish tranquility.  This is an extremely worrying situation that cannot, in any manner, be taken lightly. With hundreds of thousands of Rohingya in these camps, there is a real danger of these clashes and gunfights escalating beyond control, which would be nothing short of disastrous, particularly as COVID-19 continues its path of destruction. To that end, the authorities concerned must put a swift and definitive end to these disturbances --- this means identifying those that are responsible for these disturbances, along with possibly increasing security personnel so that these individuals who are looking to stir up trouble think twice before acting.
What must also be looked into is how people in the camps are getting access to weapons and bullets, and the faster the authorities get to the bottom of this, the quicker this issue can be resolved and put to bed. The Rohingya have faced enough hardships and are already living a difficult life in the camps in Cox's Bazar as they cling on to hope of being repatriated to their homeland. The last thing they need are incidents of violence within the camps threatening their safety.
On behalf of the government and the agencies working in the camps should also involve Rohingya community leaders to ensure harmony and tranquility. As the hundreds of thousands of people, who witnessed persecution, violence and genocide, have no work to do, no future to build, and no opportunity to pursue are frustrated may involve in the clash. With relief work, the agencies should extend mental health support, while law enforcers are maintaining law and order.

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