Family says ARSA killed Rohingya refugee leader Mohib Ullah

The family of Mohib Ullah has blamed Myanmar insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army or ARSA for the killing of the prominent refugee leader at a camp in Bangladesh.  

Cox’s Bazar
Published : 30 Sept 2021, 07:07 PM
Updated : 30 Sept 2021, 07:08 PM

Police could not identify the killers a day after the murder at Kutupalong, the largest refugee shelter in the world, but officials suspect that Rohingya people were involved with the killing.   

His brother Habib Ullah told the media on Thursday that he and Mohib Ullah went to the office of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights after saying their prayers at a mosque on Wednesday evening.

Mohib Ullah, chairman of the organisation, was talking to other Rohingya men about their repatriation to the Rakhine state in Myanmar. A former teacher, Mohib Ullah, 48, was from Sikder Para village in Rakhine’s Mongdu. 

Later, Habib Ullah left Mohib Ullah’s office and went home. Gunshots rang out when Habib Ullah was eating dinner at home. Then he rushed out and saw 15 to 20 gunmen standing, with Mohib Ullah lying covered in blood. They targeted only Mohib Ullah.

Unidentified relatives of the Rohingya Muslim leader reacts after he has been gunned down in Kutupalang camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 30, 2021. Reuters

Although the assailants covered their faces with masks or towels, Habib Ullah claimed he recognised some of them. They included Master Abdur Rahim, Lalu, Murshid and “other leaders of ARSA who reside in the camps”, according to Habib Ullah.

The brother suspects ARSA targeted Mohib Ullah because Bangladesh recently had positive talks with the international community, including the US and the UN on the repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar. “My brother was hopeful about quick repatriation.”

Their other brother, Ahmad Ullah said ARSA was angry at Mohib Ullah because he was emerging as a leader to all the members of the Rohingya and had connections with the UN and others in the international community. “They [ARSA] killed him because they did not accept him as a leader.”

ARSA had previously threatened to kill Mohib Ullah for working on the repatriation of the refugees, said Ahmad Ullah. This was the reason behind the deadly attack on Mohib Ullah, said his cousin Nurul Amin.

Mohib Ullah was known as a moderate who advocated for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar with rights they were previously denied during decades of persecution. His group Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights was founded in 2017 to document atrocities against Rohingya in their native Myanmar. He spoke at the White House and UN Human Rights Council, asking for Rohingya to be given more of a voice in their future.

More than 700,000 of the 1.1 million refugees in Bangladesh crossed the border in 2017 after a brutal Myanmar military crackdown dubbed “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN.

The Myanmar military launched the operation in retaliation for deadly attacks on border posts claimed by ARSA.

[With details from Reuters]