Dhaka, Jul 7 (EFE)- At least five people were killed at the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh’ southeastern Cox’s Bazar district following a gunfight between two rebel armed groups, police said Friday.
Three people died on the spot and two succumbed to injuries after being taken to a hospital, Amir Jafar, the commander of the local armed police battalion – responsible for the security of the camps -, told EFE.
Jafar said members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Rohingya Solidarity Organization, two rival rebel groups operating in the camps, were allegedly involved in the gunfight.
“Those who have been killed are all Rohingya males and active members of ARSA. Two of them are at the level of commander,” he said.
The ARSA is suspected of being behind a rising number of crimes that have occurred recently in the camps, including murder, kidnapping, and drug trafficking.
The group allegedly carried out a series of attacks against the security forces in 2017 in Myanmar’s southern Rakhine province, following which the army launched a brutal retaliatory campaign that led to around 774,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh.
Leaders of other Rohingya groups had alleged that the ARSA had ramped up crime in the camps – including the murder of several community leaders – to block the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
According to local media, at least 50 people have been killed in armed gunfights between rival armed groups in the Rohingya refugee camps over the past six months.
The recent incident occurred a day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Asad Ahmad Khan visited the camps on Thursday to gather testimonies regarding alleged genocide of Rohingya community in Myanmar.
The ICC, based in The Hague, authorized on Nov.14 2019 a petition from the prosecutor’s office to investigate the alleged crimes committed against the Rohingyas by the Myanmar army.
Myanmar is not a member of the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the ICC, so the court would not have jurisdiction in the Asian country.
However, judges authorized the investigation because it is alleged that at least part of the crimes were committed in Bangladesh, one of the 122 member countries of the Rome Statute, which recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICC created in 2002. EFE