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ARSA leaders infiltrate into Bangladesh to revamp group

Staff Reporter:

Some senior leaders of Myanmar’s insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) along with arms and ammunition have recently infiltrated into Bangladesh in a bid to revamp their activities in Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, according to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

They took advantage of the ongoing conflicts in Myanmar to enter the Bangladesh territory, the elite force said.

Following intelligence information, the RAB-15 recovered huge firearms and ammunition and arrested two ARSA leaders, including its Bangladesh unit commander Shahnur alias Master Selim, from a hideout in Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar early Wednesday.

The elite force said the ARSA has been the name of panic in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar for long as its members continue to commit different crimes, including murder, abduction, robbery, extortion, arson attack and drug trade, there.

It said the ARSA members have now got desperate in the camps taking advantage of the conflicts in the neighbouring country.

At least 80 people were killed in the Rohingya camps from 2023 till now — 64 last year and 16 from January to May this year, as per the RAB information.

Among them sensational were the murders of Rohingya leader Master Mohibullah in 2021 and a senior officer of an intelligence agency in 2022.

The RAB-15 battalion has so far arrested 110 members of the ARSA in Cox’s Bazar.

ARSA military commander Nur Mohammad, finance secretary Maulana Mohammad Yunus, gun commander Rahimullah, finance coordinator Arshad alias Noman Chowdhury, Aby Tayeb, killer group chief Nur Kamal alias Somiuddin, intelligence cell commander Osman Goni were among the arrestees.

The elite force has also recovered 51.71kg explosives, 12 foreign firearms, 53 locally made firearms, 153 bullets, four IEDs and some other things.

A lion portion of the recovered arms and ammunition was brought from the neighbouring country, it said.

RAB’s Drive in Ukhiya

The RAB-15 conducted a drive at a hideout of the organisation in Lal Pahar in Ukhiya and arrested Master Selim and his associate Mohammad Riaz.

Both are the citizens of Myanmar, said Commander Arafat Islam, director (Legal and Media) of the RAB force.

The elite force recovered five grenades, three rifle grenades, 10 locally made hand grenades, 13 cocktails, a revolver, nine bullets of 9MM pistol, an LG and 12 cartridges from the hideout.

A team from Bangladesh Army’s Bomb Disposal Unit destroyed explosives, grenades, IEDs and rocket cells.

Arafat said Selim trespassed into Bangladesh from the neighbouring country in 2017 and started living in Rohingya camp No. 15.

Before that, he was a zonal commander of the ARSA in the neighbouring country and also the bodyguard of ARSA founder and chief Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi.

Selim was involved in murder, abduction, extortion and other crimes and he is an expert in different explosives.

At first, he was the commander of Rohingya camp-15 and recently he was made the commander of the ARSA Bangladesh unit.

Selim collected arms and ammunition from the neighbouring country and was dominating the Rohingya camps.

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