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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and