Bangladesh police shoot dead two Rohingya in refugee camp

Security personnel stand guard at Jadimura refugee camp in Teknaf on August 24, 2019, following a gunfight between Bangladesh police and Rohingya refugees. (AFP)
Updated 24 August 2019

Bangladesh police shoot dead two Rohingya in refugee camp

  • “Both men died as they were rushed to a hospital,” local police inspector Rasel Ahmad told AFP, adding that the incident took place in Jadimura refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar district
  • 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

TEKNAF, Bangladesh: Bangladesh police said they had shot dead two Rohingya refugees during a gunfight in a refugee camp on Saturday after the pair were accused of killing a ruling party official.
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.
Rights activists, who asked not to be named, said they believe the two Rohingya men were killed by police in what appeared to be a staged encounter.
The incident comes two days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees, which saw not a single Rohingya turn up to return across the border to conflict-scarred Rakhine state.
“Both men died as they were rushed to a hospital,” local police inspector Rasel Ahmad told AFP, adding that the incident took place in Jadimura refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar district.
Ahmad said the two Rohingya were shot and critically injured during a manhunt for suspects after a youth wing official of the ruling Awami League party was killed, allegedly by armed refugees.
Awami League official Omar Faruk was shot in the head on Thursday, at a settlement near the border town of Teknaf, Ahmad said.
His murder had sparked anger among the local population, with hundreds of furious people blocking a key highway leading to the camps for hours, burning tires and vandalising shops visited by refugees.
Ahmad said the two men killed on Saturday had been identified as key suspects in Faruk’s killing and added that they had been shot while the officers were ambushed by the suspected criminals.
“It was wrong of the refugees to agitate the locals. We want justice in the quickest possible time,” said Abdul Matin, a friend of the deceased politician.
Refugees said the recent bloodshed has created an atmosphere of fear in the camps, where security has been tightened.
The killings came as the Rohingya are set to commemorate the second anniversary of their mass influx into Bangladesh from Rakhine after the brutal military campaign.
UN investigators have said the 2017 violence warrants the prosecution of top Myanmar generals for “genocide.”
On Thursday Bangladesh’s second attempt to start repatriation of Rohingya back to Myanmar faltered after the refugees said they won’t return unless their security is ensured and they were granted citizenship in their homeland.


Soloman Islands breaks ties with Taiwan after Chinese ‘dollar diplomacy’

Updated 16 September 2019

Soloman Islands breaks ties with Taiwan after Chinese ‘dollar diplomacy’

  • Taiwan now has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation
  • The Solomons is the sixth ally Taiwan has lost since Tsai came to office in 2016 — following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador

TAIPEI: The Solomon Islands’ government has cut official ties with Taiwan in a new blow to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China.
Taiwan now has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation.
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, told reporters in Taipei late on Monday that it would immediately close down its embassy in the Solomon Islands and recall all of its diplomats.
Wu said China was aiming to meddle with Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections in January with “dollar diplomacy.”
“The Chinese government attacked Taiwan purposely before our presidential and legislative elections, obviously aiming to meddle with the voting. The government strongly condemns this and urges people to hold on to its sovereignty and the value of freedom and democracy,” Wu said.
“Taiwan has never bowed to pressure from one single setback, and it won’t be defeated by this blow,” Wu said, urging support from allies in the region to defend Taiwan’s much-valued freedom and democracy.
Solomon Islands is the sixth country Taiwan will lose as a diplomatic ally since Tsai came to office in 2016 — following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador.
Tsai, who’s facing an uphill battle in January’s vote, has been criticized over her handling of Beijing, who suspects of her pushing for Taiwan’s formal independence.
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move came after the Solomon Islands’ months-long review of the pros and cons of a switch to Beijing, which was offering $8.5 million in development funds to replace support from Taiwan.
The Solomons Prime Minister’s office did not immediately respond to questions.
A switch in allegiance would be a prize for Beijing in its campaign to secure allies from Taiwan.
Taiwan vowed to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after El Salvador switched its allegiance to Beijing last year.