Bangladesh Army News and Updates
DHAKA - The Bangladesh military said Thursday it has ordered an investigation after a Rohingya family in a refugee camp accused army troops of raping a 12-year-old girl.
The inquiry comes as around a million Rohingya in vast camps in Bangladesh face increasing hostility two years after fleeing a military offensive in Myanmar.
Mohammad Osman, an elder brother of the alleged victim, said three soldiers entered their shanty at the Nayapara Rohingya camp on Sunday evening and sexually assaulted his sister.
"She was raped as one of them tightly held her mouth," he told AFP by phone, referring to the border district where the refugee camps are located.
A spokesman of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah ibn Zaid, said they were investigating.
"We have formed a probe committee to investigate the incident and find out the facts. If (they are) found guilty, exemplary punishment will be given," ibn Zaid told AFP.
Doctor Shaheen Abdur Rahman said the girl was examined at the central hospital in Cox's Bazar but he refused to comment on the findings due to court restrictions.
A spokesman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said they were also investigating the incident.
"We are aware of the reports. In such cases, individuals are entitled to medical, physical and psychological support, as well as access to due process," UNHCR spokesman Joseph Tripura said in a statement to AFP.
Tensions have risen in recent weeks with an increasingly frustrated Bangladeshi government enacting several measures making life harder for the refugees.
These include blocking mobile internet, confiscating SIM cards and mobile phones and filing hundreds of cases for illegally obtaining citizenship cards.
U.N. experts have expressed "serious concerns" about the restrictions.
Last week Bangladesh's home minister said that barbed-wire fencing, guard towers and cameras would be erected around the Rohingya camps, sparking criticism from rights groups.
Checkpoints set up on the main highways leading to the camps have stopped Rohingya and sent them back to the settlements when they try to travel to other parts of Bangladesh.
Hundreds of Rohingya found elsewhere in the South Asian nation have also been detained and returned to the camps.
Authorities say the internet ban was sparked by security fears after the Rohingya were blamed for the murder of a local politician and drug smuggling.
More than a dozen Rohingya -- most accused of involvement in the murder of the politician -- have been shot dead by security forces in recent weeks.
Officials also said on Thursday that 45 Rohingya have been charged with infiltration after they were detained illegally working in a ship-breaking yard.
Rights activists said this could be the first time Rohingya have been charged with infiltration -- an offence that carries five years in jail.
Bangladeshi army accused of gang-raping 12-year-old Rohingya girl
Friday, 04 Oct 2019
12:44 PM MYT
Its president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani said the rape incident proved that protection for women and children in the refugee camp was very weak.
He also questioned the standard operating procedure (SOP) of dealing with refugees in the camp, and whether there was adequate protection and counseling rendered to the victim.
Zafar called on, among others, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Bangladeshi government to immediately conduct a transparent and thorough investigation into the incident.
He added that security measures and the SOP in the refugee camps must be reviewed, and urged the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force to ensure security in the refugee camp.
"UNHCR must consider her (the victim's) resettlement as her safety, as well as her family's, is at risk," he said in a statement on Friday (Oct 4).
Zafar alleged that the Bangladeshi army had threatened the victim's family.
According to AFP, the Bangladeshi military has ordered an investigation into the incident.
It also said that Mohammad Osman, the elder brother of the alleged victim, claimed that three soldiers entered their shanty and proceeded to sexually assault the victim at the Nayapara Rohingya camp last Sunday (Sept 29).
The report said the victim was currently being treated at Cox’s Bazar central hospital.
"We understand that the Bangladesh government is facing difficulties in dealing with the world's largest refugee camp, but the security and the safety of refugees, especially women and children, cannot be sacrificed.
"We are concerned over the increase (presence) of the Bangladesh army in the refugee camps. The refugees are not a threat to national security," he said.
Zafar said they were grateful to the Bangladeshi government for sheltering the Rohingyas, but hoped that more could be done to ease their vulnerability.
"We are worried over the cutting of Internet connection in Cox’s Bazaar, as it only exposes the refugees to more abuses and exploitations, as well as disrupting humanitarian aid,"