‘Fire in Rohingya camp is planned sabotage: Speakers

Published : 13 Mar 2023 08:19 PM

The investigation committee has found evidence of planned, purposeful, dominating and sabotage in the fire incident in Ukhiya Rohingya camp of Cox's Bazar. Apart from giving 10 recommendations to stop the recurrence of the incident, the committee suggested further investigation of the matter through the case. The report of this inquiry committee was submitted 7 days after the incident.

  The incident of fire took place in Balukhali No. 11 Rohingya camp in Ukhia on March 5 at noon.

  The inquiry committee has found evidence of planned and deliberate sabotage.

  3 thousand 11 families, 15 thousand 926 people have been affected by the fire. 762 FCN cards of Rohingyas were burnt.

However, the 7-member investigation committee formed on behalf of the district administration of Cox's Bazar could not identify the names of those who set the fire. Therefore, the investigation committee feels that it is important to file a case and investigate the incident and identify those involved. The inquiry committee's report made 10 recommendations, including filing of cases, regular combing operations by law enforcement agencies and increasing intelligence activities.

During the pre-briefing organized in the conference room of Cox's Bazar district administration at 4 pm on Sunday, the head of the investigation committee, Additional District Executive Magistrate Abu Sufyan reported this information.

He said that 74 pages have been attached as various evidences in the 4-page investigation report. During the investigation, the investigation committee talked to 50 Rohingyas and those concerned. These Rohingyas say it is planned sabotage. These Rohingyas gave different names in the information that was found. But they are difficult to identify. Therefore, the investigation committee is in favor of identifying them by investigating after the case.

He said that the fire started at 2.30 am, which took time till 6 pm to bring it under control. In the meantime, there was a fire not in one place, but in several places in a short period of time. It proves sabotage. At the same time, on the day before the fire, shootings and clashes took place over the dominance of the camp. It also proved disastrous. It is true that many have forbidden the Rohingyas to put out the fire. But it's done in tact. The Rohingyas have been told, "It is more important to save lives than to put out fires".

He said that after talking to the eyewitnesses and affected people, it has been confirmed that the incident was intentional. But it is important to file a case to identify those involved.

Among the other nine recommendations made in the report, roads in every block of the Rohingya camp could be widened to accommodate law enforcement and fire service vehicles. Construction of water troughs on roadsides in Bøk, use of less flammable material instead of tarpaulin in shelters, formation of separate fire service unit for Rohingya camps, refraining from marketing inside the camp and refraining from outlet of flammable material outside the main road. Setting up the layout at the entrance of the camp considering that it is densely populated and many places are inaccessible for vehicles, regular training and awareness are created for the voluntary participation of Rohingyas in fire fighting. Installation of wireless towers and 360 degree CCTV cameras throughout the camp, security fencing to prevent escape from one camp to another.

Other members of the inquiry committee were present during the prebriefing.

2 thousand 805 various structures including houses and 15 thousand 925 Rohingyas were damaged in the fire at Balukhali Camp No. 11 in Ukhia on March 5.

Earlier on March 22, 2021, there was a terrible fire incident in the same camp. At that time, 11 people died, more than 500 were injured. More than 9 thousand houses were burnt.