New armed police to start working in Cox’s Bazar | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:41 AM, February 23, 2020

New armed police to start working in Cox’s Bazar

A new police battalion is going to start its operation in coastal district Cox's Bazar from February 28.

The Armed Police Battalion (APBn)-16 is the second such special battalion to maintain law and order of the district and ensure security of Rohingyas.

"We will begin our operational activities in Cox's Bazar from February 28," Hemayetul Islam, commanding officer (CO) of newly formed APBn-16, told The Daily Star on Thursday.

"We are now finalising appointment of our staff members and official procedures from Dhaka," he added.

On November 12 last year, the home ministry approved formation of the battalion with 588 manpower. A superintendent of police will be its CO.

Its prime task will be to maintain law and order of the coastal district, according to a ministry order.

Upon the order, official activities of the battalion have begun from January 1, said the APBn-16 commanding officer.

Asked about the delay in recruiting manpower, SM Aktaruzzaman, additional deputy inspector general (O&M) of Police Headquarters (PHQ), said it took some time to start operation of the battalion as they had to appoint officials from different police units.

On December 3, 2018,the home ministry approved establishment of another special battalion named Armed Police Battalion (APBn)-14, which has also 588 manpower, including a SP as its CO. The battalion started working in the district on December 27 that year.

Earlier in 2018, the PHQ proposed formation of the two battalions.

Around 1,176 officials of APBn-14 and APBn-16 will start working jointly from February 28. Besides, some 225 police personnel from Cox's Bazar police will be working with the battalions, said officials.

In May last year, Cox's Bazar police, in a report to the PHQ, also recommended establishment of the second battalion to deal with the rising number of crimes.

Contacted, ABM Masud Hossain, superintendent of Cox's Bazar police, told this newspaper on Thursday that they were hopeful that the new battalion would make their task of maintaining law and order easier.

Regarding Rohingyas' involvement in crimes, Masud said a large number of the refugees was passing their days idle. So, it is a general tendency that many of them would get involved in crimes. "But the situation is still under our control," he added. 

The district police has also suggested installing barbed wire fences surrounding the refugee camps. 

In this regard, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the fences were being erected around the Rohingya camps as per the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"Bangladesh Army has started erecting barbed wire fences around the Rohingya camps. The main objective of installing the fences is that Rohingyas remain limited to their camps," the minister said on February 15.

Presently, Bangladesh hosts some 11 lakh Rohingyas, of whom 743,000 came during the latest influx following the brutal military crackdown in Rakhine State beginning on August 25, 2017.

Beside Rohingyas, Cox's Bazar district is also known as the gateway of smuggling yaba tablets into Bangladesh from Myanmar.

Around 1,250 yaba dealers have been enlisted by law enforcers in eight upazilas of Cox's Bazar, showed a database of the district police. Of them, 912 are from Teknaf.

Sources claimed that the yaba dealers are now using the Rohingyas for smuggling the pills into Bangladesh.

Law enforcers arrested some 98 yaba peddlers in December last year, including 45 Rohingyas.

Since May 4, 2018, law enforcers started a war against narcotics and 209 people were killed in "gunfights" with law enforcers in the district alone till December last year. Of them, 56 were Rohingyas, shows the district police database. 

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