New armed police battalion for Rohingya camps

A new battalion of the armed police will be deployed in Cox’s Bazar to ensure safety and surveillance of the Rohingyas.

The home ministry has approved the work for the battalion and the 16th Armed Police Battalion (APBn) will soon begin operation. Earlier, the home ministry gave approval to the 14th battalion. With the new one, two battalions will work.

Following the army crackdown in Rakhine on Aug 25, 2017, around 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh and with the earlier 500,000, a total of along 1.15 million people are now living in camps in Teknaf and Ukhia. The government allotted around 10,000 acres of forest land to accommodate the Rohingyas and has been providing food, medicine, education and humanitarian aid for them.

Since the Rohingyas have been living in the camps for more than two and a half years, they are engaged in a variety of crimes including murder, rape, human trafficking, drug smuggling etc. To curb the crimes, the 14th armed battalion was given approval in 2018 and under it a total of 950 persons are working.

Cox’s Bazar police SP ABM Masud Hossain, said: “Approval for a new battalion has been given while the team from the home ministry is working to provide legal support to control crime through quick response teams and special control rooms.”

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As per the home ministry, the security at the camps has been ramped up over fears that the Rohingyas may leave the camps and mix with the locals, get involved in crime or become victims of trafficking.