A top Rohingya leader was shot dead by an unknown assailant inside the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia on Wednesday, police said.
The slain leader was identified as Mohammad Mohibullah, chairman of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH).
The 14th APBn commander SP Md Naimul Haque confirmed that the incident occurred at around 8:30pm. He was shot at five times, collapsing after three rounds hit him.
Mohibullah was first rushed to a local medical facility and later referred to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital where the on-duty doctor declared him dead, added Naimul.
Rohingya leader Mohibullah assassinated
The ARPSH was formed in late 2017 to collect evidence of the alleged genocide by the Myanmar army during its offensive in Rakhine State in August of that year, leading to a massive exodus of the Rohingya out of Rakhine, where they have been living for generations.
It emerged as one of the leading organisations giving voice to the Rohingya refugees. Its bamboo-and-tarpaulin office inside the Kutupalong camp, the world’s largest refugee settlement, often housed meetings among Rohingya community leaders.
Mohibullah, a teacher turned rights activist, emerged as a key refugee leader and spokesperson in international meetings. In 2019, he was chosen to represent his community on a visit to the White House for a meeting with the U.S. president on religious freedom, where he voiced the persecution faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar.
That same year, he came under fire after he along with others led a massive rally of 200,000 refugees to mark the second anniversary of the Myanmar military crackdown. Though it was peaceful, Bangladeshi authorities appeared rattled as a wave of xenophobia directed at the Rohingyas swept through the country.
They subsequently padlocked the ARSPH office, as part of a clampdown on the refugees following a failed repatriation attempt. The office was later allowed to reopen. It was there that Mohibullah was gunned down on Wednesday evening.
According to Fortify Rights, an international NGO that has done advocacy on behalf of the Rohingya, Mohibullah’s rejection of violence had made him the target of death threats by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants and their sympathisers.
Amnesty asks to investigate
In a response late Wednesday, Amnesty International, who once famously described the Rohingya as “the most persecuted minority” in the world, called upon the government to investigate the brazen killing, which carried all the hallmarks of a targeted assassination.
Saad Hammadi, Amnesty’s South Asia Campaigner, released a statement that said:
“Mohibullah was a leading representative of the Rohingya community, who spoke out against violence in the camps and in support of the human rights and protection of refugees. His killing sends a chilling effect across the entire community. The onus is now on the Bangladeshi authorities to expedite an investigation into his murder and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials.”
Source: United News of Bangladesh