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Bangladesh: Rohingyas plead for their safety with Bachelet

According to the authorities, Ms.

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Bangladesh: Rohingyas plead for their safety with Bachelet

According to the authorities, Ms. Bachelet spent several hours in the maze of Rohingya camps in the district of Cox's Bazar, and met with leaders of this community, as part of her four-day visit to the South Asian country.

Around 750,000 Rohingyas fled army abuses in Burma and sought asylum in neighboring Bangladesh in 2017, where there were already more than 100,000 refugees, victims of previous violence.

Two leaders of the Rohingya community were recently shot dead in one of these camps where security is a recurring problem.

Ms. Bachelet "wanted to find out about the murders committed in the camps. We discussed it," Maulvi Zafar, a 30-year-old imam, told AFP by telephone.

"We talked about strengthening the security of the camps. We demanded security," he added.

Dozens of murders, kidnappings and police raids targeting drug trafficking networks have taken place in the camps.

Last September, Mohib Ullah, a Rohingya leader and peace activist, was assassinated. A demonstration of some 100,000 refugees, which he had organized to mark the two years of their exodus, had made him famous.

Police did not name any suspects, but Rohingya sources told AFP that the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA) insurgency, which operates both in Rakhine state (western Burma) and in the camps of Bangladesh, was behind the murders of these leaders.

In June, police charged 29 Rohingyas, including several ARSA executives, with the murder of Mohib Ullah.

Bangladesh's refugee commissioner, Shah Rezwan Hayat, told AFP that Ms Bachelet had inquired about certain incidents in the camps, and that he had assured that "all kinds of measures had been taken by the government to improve security.

He added that the High Commissioner had also touched on the subject of education and livelihoods of Rohingyas who do not have the right to work. He assured in this context that the government would gradually develop the education of all refugee children in the camps.

Michelle Bachelet is due to speak to the press on Wednesday in Dhaka, the capital. The 70-year-old former president of Chile is due to leave her post at the UN at the end of the month.

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