A climate of fear and intimidation gripped the indigenous communities living in the hills of Bandarban and surrounding areas after five people were murdered and one abducted in Bandarban and Rangamati in three weeks’ time.
Male members of the communities in Bandarban Sadar upazila’s Rajbila and Kuhalong unions are now staying elsewhere, said locals and public representatives.
Sanu Pru Marma, chairman of Kuhalong union, said, “Following the recent gruesome murders and abductions in the area, male residents of my union are not staying in their Paras after the sunset.”
Most male villagers of Rajbila union are also taking the same precaution over the last couple of days, said Kya Aung Pru Marma, chairman of the union.
“We have been passing sleepless nights due to threats issued by criminals,” said U Cha Mong Marma, whose nephew was murdered after abduction in Rajbila on Sunday.
On May 7, a member of Parbatya Chattogram Jana Samhati Samity (PCJSS) was shot dead, while another PCJSS man, Puladon Tongchangya, 40, was abducted from Rajbila union of Bandarban Sadar upazila.
Only two days later, on May 9, another PCJSS supporter was shot dead by a group of armed assailants in Bakichhara rubber garden area of the same upazila.
On May 19, a local Awami League (AL) leader’s brother was shot dead in Rajbila, while a local leader of Jubo League was shot dead in his house in Rajasthali upazila of neighbouring Rangamati district.
On May 25, the body of former vice president of AL’s Bandarban town unit Chaw Thowai Mong Marma, 53, was found in a hilly remote area of Kuhalong union in Bandarban Sadar upazila.
Chaw Thowai, also a former commissioner of Ward 5 in Bandarban town, was allegedly abducted from his farmhouse on the night of May 22.
Locals requesting anonymity said criminals come, mostly after sunset, with heavy weapons and threaten them.
Since the 11th parliamentary elections, some AL men, assisted by some law enforcers, have been sheltering the criminals to ruin harmony in the region, claimed Uchow Mong Marma, PCJSS Bandarban unit’s president.
AL’s Bandarban unit President Kwe Shwe Hla claimed that an armed group of PCJSS is behind the killings of ruling party men in the area.
Zakir Hossain Majumder, SP in Bandarban, said they were conducting investigations to identify the killers and their motives.
Two temporary camps of Bangladesh Army have been set up in Rajbila and Kuhalong unions to bring the situation under control, said Brig Gen Khandaker Md Shahidul Emran, commander of Bangladesh Army’s Bandarban region.
Shahidul Islam, OC of Bandarban Sadar Police Station, said last night they arrested KS Mong Marma, joint organising secretary of PCJSS central unit; and Kyawba Marma, secretary of PCJSS Bandarban unit -- in connection with the murder of AL leader Chaw Thowai.