Bangladesh police have charged at least 29 Rohingya over the murder of popular community leader Mohib Ullah last September, a prosecutor said.
Ullah, the head of a Rohingya rights group, was gunned down in one of several sprawling camps in Bangladesh that together house almost a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
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The assassination of the popular local leader sent shockwaves through the refugee community.
“Out of the 29, police have arrested 15 people and the rest are absconding,” prosecutor Faridul Alam told AFP on Monday.
“At least four of those arrested have made confessional statements over their roles in the murder,” Alam said, adding that police have completed their probe and filed a charge sheet against the 29 suspects for the murder of the 48-year-old.
Shortly after the killing, Ullah’s family blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an armed group in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, that has been accused of dealing in narcotics, murdering political opponents and instilling a climate of fear in the refugee camps.
The prosecutor said police did not directly hold ARSA responsible for the murder, but he added that “those who opposed repatriation [of the Rohingya back to Myanmar] killed Mohib Ullah. Some of them [who are charged] are members of ARSA”.
ARSA has denied any involvement in Ullah’s killing.
About 920,000 Rohingya refugees live in camps in Bangladesh, most of whom fled a military onslaught in Myanmar in 2017 that the US has designated an act of genocide.
Working 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 teacher shot to prominence in 2019 when he organised a protest of about 100,000 people to mark two years since their exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
He also met then US President Donald Trump in the White House that year and addressed a UN meeting in Geneva.
After the murder, members of Ullah’s family took shelter in a UN-run transit camp and in April they were relocated to Canada.