Two more Rohingya men were shot dead by officers Friday in a southern Bangladesh border town, police said, amid a clampdown on the refugees after the killing of a ruling party official.
Police said the pair were accused of the murder of Omar Faruk, a youth wing official of the Awami League party, who was shot in the head by suspected Rohingya criminals late last month.
Nearly a million Rohingya live in squalid camps in southeast Bangladesh, 740,000 of whom fled a 2017 military offensive against the Muslim minority in Myanmar.
Masud Hossain, head of police in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, told AFP the two men were grievously injured during a gunfight with police near Teknaf town early Friday morning and were later declared dead in hospital.
“They are Rohingya miscreants. They were involved in robbery, abduction and drug smuggling,” he said, adding they were “accused in the case” of Faruk’s murder on August 22.
With the latest deaths, six Rohingya men allegedly involved in Faruk’s killing have been shot dead in alleged gunfights with police, according to a count by AFP based on the statements of Cox’s Bazar police.
Hossain, however, put the toll at five.
At least 36 refugees have now been killed by Bangladeshi security forces since August 2017, when Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in western Rakhine state, sparking the mass exodus.
Rights groups have previously accused Bangladesh police of extrajudicial killings of Rohingya, mainly suspects in drug smuggling, saying some of the gunfights appeared to be staged.
The latest deaths follows a second failed attempt to begin the repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed Myanmar for the failure, saying Naypyidaw did not do enough to win the community’s trust.
But her government has also started to crack down on activity in the Rohingya camps — Dhaka has imposed a virtual internet blackout by cutting access to 3G and 4G mobile internet networks.