Bangladesh’s police recovered said at least four people died after members of two factions of criminals attacked each other in a sprawling camp for Rohingya refugees late Tuesday, officials said.
Another 20 refugees were injured as the two groups opened fire, used locally made guns and sharp weapons at Kutupalong in Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar district, said Rafiqul Islam, an additional police superintendent.
Security was heightened in the camps in the district where more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been sheltered by the government, he said.
The official said at least seven Rohingya refugees, including those who died Tuesday, had been killed in clashes to establish dominance in the area over last few days.
Bangladesh authorities and intelligence officials have long been saying that many of the refugees are involved in illicit drug trade, smuggling, robbery and ransom-seeking. Earlier Tuesday, the elite security agency Rapid Action Battalion arrested nine refugees suspected of being involved in various criminal activities.
They had firearms, bullets and sharp weapons, Islam said. Local media reported that Tuesday’s chaos began after the arrest of the suspects as one group blamed another for helping the security agency in detaining them. Human rights groups that are involved in the camps acknowledge there are criminal elements among the Rohingya refugees.
In January, at least four suspected Rohingya criminals were shot dead in a gunfight with police while in March last year another seven suspects were fatally shot by the security officials.
They were allegedly involved in dug dealing and human trafficking. More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar into Bangladesh after the Buddhist-majority country’s military launched a crackdown against them in August 2017 in response to an attack by insurgents.