Five arrested over killing of Rohingya leader in Bangladesh

Mohib Ullah was killed by gunmen in one of the spawling camps in southeast Bangladesh. PHOTO: REUTERS

COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH (AFP) - Five Rohingya men have been arrested over the killing of a prominent community leader in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, police said Sunday (Oct 3), adding that they were probing links to a militant group.

Mohib Ullah - a high-profile figurehead for the more than 800,000-strong Muslim minority who fled the Myanmar military in a mass exodus - was killed by gunmen late Wednesday in one of the spawling camps in southeast Bangladesh.

His family blamed militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), a group behind several attacks in Myanmar, with activists claiming they were enraged by his growing popularity in the camps.

"We have arrested five people over the murder of Mohib Ullah," the commanding officer of the police unit in charge of camp security, Mr Naimul Haque, told AFP.

Two of the men were remanded in custody for three days for questioning, authorities said. The other three have not yet appeared in court.

A 28-year-old Rohingya man was also arrested over the murder last week.

All six are being investigated for links to Arsa, which has instead blamed "unidentified criminals" for Mr Ullah's death.

A member of the rights group that Mr Mohib Ullah headed up alleged that one of those arrested, 35-year-old Mohammad Elias, was a member of Arsa and had threatened the popular leader in June.

The member, who asked to remain anonymous as he feared for his safety, said at least ten leaders of Mr Mohib Ullah's group were in hiding as they were afraid of more attacks.

And while authorities have stepped up security in the camps, Mr Mohib Ullah's family said they were afraid of even stepping outside their homes.

"We can't get out of the house. They (ARSA) are threatening to kill us," Mr Mohib Ullah's younger brother Habibullah told AFP.

"We received threats through audio messages in the past few days. I am now in a state of panic. We received the death threats for saying that Arsa members killed my brother."

Spokesman for the Cox's Bazar police Rafiqul Islam said they were ready to provide security to Mr Ullah's family if they made an appeal.

On Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for a "prompt, thorough, and independent investigation" into the killing.

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