DHAKA: A panel investigating the massive fire that has left thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps without shelter determined on Monday that the blaze was the result of a “planned act of sabotage” by groups trying to exert influence.


Cox’s Bazar is located on the country’s southeastern coast and is home to roughly 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar. A fire broke out there on March 5.

More than 12,000 people were displaced as flames swept through the camps, destroying an estimated 2,000 huts and dozens of facilities like hospitals and schools.

Abu Sufian, a senior district government official and head of the seven-member probe committee, told Arab News that the fire incident was a planned act of sabotage and vengeance that was done to establish influence in the camp over the rival groups.

After three days, the panel concluded its investigation and interviewed eyewitnesses from the camps, Sufian said, adding that the panel made several recommendations to improve fire safety, as well as surveillance and intelligence monitoring in the camps.

We think this situation warrants additional investigation to identify those responsible for the fire. A comprehensive analysis is needed.

There are frequent fires in the overcrowded camps because the temporary shelters easily catch fire. Fire in 2021 killed at least 15 evacuees and destroyed thousands of homes.

The recent incident, however, is only the most recent illustration of a larger trend of rising crime in the camps.

When I hear the names of the… gangs that are active in the camps, as a Rohingya refugee, I feel unsafe. A Rohingya refugee from the Kutupalong camp told Arab News that one of these gangs was responsible for the fire.

Because he was afraid for his life, the 25-year-old man asked to remain anonymous.

It is imperative that more and more in-depth research be conducted. The law enforcement officials should make them answer for their actions. He concluded that the arsonists’ goal was to prove their superiority over the other camp residents.

According to Dhaka-based migration and refugee expert Asif Munir, who described “different groups and factions” as the driving force behind similar incidents in the camps over the past two years, most of whom were armed and involved in drug trafficking.

Regarding the Rohingya people and their future and welfare, it does not appear that they have any revolutionary ideas. Munir told Arab News that the group was self-centered and focused solely on accumulating wealth for their own benefit.

The intelligence, government, and law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh need a better way to control these issues, he said.

“This cannot continue and must be contained, and if necessary, there is a need for specialist training for dealing with armed groups, possibly with an international training as well.”