Bangladesh police hunt man who married Rohingya refugee

A Rohingya woman holds a vessel for drinking water at Palangkhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. More than half a million Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in just over a month, the largest refugee crisis to hit Asia in decades. (AP)
Updated 08 October 2017
0

Bangladesh police hunt man who married Rohingya refugee

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Bangladesh police were Sunday searching for a man who defied a ban and married a Rohingya refugee, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled across the border to escape violence in Myanmar.
More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flocked to Bangladesh since an army crackdown began on August 25 in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a process the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.
Shoaib Hossain Jewel, 25, and his 18-year-old Rohingya bride Rafiza have been on the run since marrying last month, said police in Jewel’s home town of Singair.
“We heard he married a Rohingya woman. We went to his home at Charigram village to look for him,” Singair police chief Khandaker Imam Hossain told AFP.
“But we did not find him there and his parents don’t know where he has gone,” he said, adding they were investigating the case.
In 2014 Dhaka banned marriages between Bangladeshis and Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim refugees following claims that members of the persecuted community were attempting to wed to gain citizenship in the mainly Muslim nation.
Jewel’s father Babul Hossain said citizenship was not the motive this time and defended his son’s marriage to Rafiza.
“If Bangladeshis can marry Christians and people of other religions, what’s wrong in my son’s marriage to a Rohingya?” Hossain told AFP.
“He married a Muslim who took shelter in Bangladesh.”
The Dhaka Tribune newspaper said Jewel, a teacher in a madrassa or religious school, fell in love with Rafiza after her family fled the latest bout of violence in Myanmar and took refuge at a cleric’s house in Singair.
In a police crackdown, the family was forced to move back to the main refugee camp in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar — some 265 miles from Singair.
A lovestruck Jewel rushed to Cox’s Bazar, running from one camp to another in search of Rafiza. He finally found her and asker her parents for their daughter’s hand in marriage.
Their wedding in Cox’s Bazar was the first known one between a Bangladeshi and a Rohingya refugee since the August flare-up, the newspaper reported.
Deadly attacks by Rohingya militants on Myanmar police posts on August 25 sparked a ferocious backlash against the community, which has suffered decades of discrimination in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.


Former guerilla set to be sworn in as East Timor leader

Updated 22 June 2018
0

Former guerilla set to be sworn in as East Timor leader

DILI, East Timor: East Timor will swear in a new government led by former guerilla fighter Taur Matan Ruak Friday following a protracted political crisis that has paralyzed the tiny Southeast Asian nation.
Ruak will head the second government in less than a year in the impoverished half-island nation that won independence in 2002 after a brutal 24-year occupation by neighboring Indonesia.
Born Jose Maria Vasconcelos but universally known by his nom de guerre Taur Matan Ruak — which means “Two sharp eyes” — was a commander in the East Timorese resistance before becoming chief of the newly independent nation’s army.
He also served in the largely ceremonial role of president between 2012 and 2017.
Parliament was dissolved in January amid tensions between former prime minister Mari Alkatiri’s minority government and an opposition centered around independence hero Xanana Gusmao.
An alliance led by Gusmao clinched an absolute majority in elections held in May.
Ruak’s new government includes members of Gusmao’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction, the People’s Liberation Party and the youth-based Khunto.
The incoming administration will face big challenges, especially as the clock is ticking fast on East Timor’s disappearing oil and gas reserves.
The resources pay for the bulk of government spending but oil revenues are in steep decline and the country has few other productive economic sectors.
About 60 percent of East Timor’s population is under 25, according to the World Bank, while some 40 percent of its people live in poverty.
Providing jobs for young people and reining in public spending — especially on large infrastructure projects — will be key tasks for the new government, analysts say.