Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Insurgents killed Rohingya leader, authorities admit

Insurgents killed Rohingya leader, authorities admit

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bangladesh police arrested a powerful Muslim cleric who allegedly issued an execution edict against a prominent Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah (centre). AFP

Insurgents killed Rohingya leader, authorities admit

Bangladesh police admitted for the first time on March 15 that an insurgent group ordered last year’s murder of a respected Rohingya leader, saying they were threatened by his growing popularity.

The assassination of Mohib Ullah last September sent shockwaves through the sprawling border settlements that house hundreds of thousands of stateless Rohingya refugees who fled a violent crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

Hours after the 48-year-old was gunned down in Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee settlement, his family accused the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of orchestrating the killing.

The militant group is waging an insurgency in Myanmar and has been accused of running narcotics, murdering political opponents and instilling a climate of fear in the camps.

Security forces have routinely denied ARSA operates in the camps and blamed Ullah’s death on an unrelated turf war.

But the police investigation has made headway in recent weeks and the inspector manning the probe said on March 15 that 15 people with ties to the group had been arrested for their role in the killing, four of whom have issued confessions.

“In their statement the four claimed they are ARSA members and they got instructions from ARSA leaders to kill Mohib Ullah,” Gazi Salahuddin said.

“A meeting was held on the night of September 27 to assassinate Mohib Ullah. There were leaders of ARSA [in the meeting] and they demanded he be killed,” he said.

Salahuddin said he believed the murder was ordered by ARSA chief Ataullah, who is believed to be in Myanmar, because of the victim’s growing following.

“They thought Mohib Ullah and his organisation had become more organised and popular than ARSA. So they killed him,” he said.

“Mohib Ullah was working against ARSA and was raising awareness about the group’s criminal activities.”

The militant group has previously denied any involvement in the community leader’s murder.

More than 850,000 Rohingya refugees live in Bangladesh refugee camps, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar that is now the subject of a genocide case at the UN’s highest court in The Hague.

Working among the chaos and unease in the camps, Ullah and his colleagues quietly documented the crimes that his people suffered at the hands of the Myanmar military while pressing for better conditions.

The former schoolteacher shot to prominence in 2019 when he organised a protest of about 100,000 people in the camps to mark two years since their exodus.

He also met then US president Donald Trump in the White House that year and addressed a UN meeting in Geneva.


  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.