World

Plainclothes cops patrol Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

COX'S BAZAR: Bangladesh has deployed secret police in refugee camps near its Myanmar border, where Rohingya claiming to be members of a militant group say they have found fertile ground for recruitment.

The authorities in Bangladesh have repeatedly said there are no extremists among the new arrivals.

But inside the camps are self-proclaimed members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), the group behind the Aug 25 attacks in Myanmar that sparked a military crackdown the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.

Capitalising on anger over the unrest that has forced half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee to camps in Bangladesh, recruiters claim to have enlisted hundreds willing to fight back in Myanmar, where the minority faced decades of persecution.

The allegations are hard to verify. But the authorities in Bangladesh have stepped up surveillance of the border area in recent weeks.

Arsa has effectively gone underground recently, said newly arrived refugee Jahangir Alam, who claimed he took part in an ambush on security forces last year.

Mr S.M. Moniruzzaman, the regional police chief overseeing the refugee camps, rejected any suggestion Rohingya militants were operating in Bangladesh. - AFP

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