Cox’s Bazar: Thousands of Rohingya have been forced to flee in recent days after gang warfare broke out in the world’s largest refugee camp in southern Bangladesh, killing at least eight people and terrifying residents with sporadic gunfire, arson and abductions.
Authorities have arrested 12 people and dispatched hundreds of armed military and police officers to the camp of more than a million people near the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar to try to contain clashes between rival gangs fighting for control of a cross-border methamphetamine trade.
Refugees, already traumatised by their flight from ethnic cleansing in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017, are once again being displaced and living in fear. It also prompted concerns that efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the squalid camps could be hampered.
Rahima Begum, a mother of two, said she was forced, along with hundreds of others, to escape the Kutupalong section of the camp, where the violence is concentrated. “Every night we heard the sound of gunfire. Night-time was hell for us I saw people running with long knives, long sticks,” she said.