Police have blocked the BNP’s relief convoy for Rohingya refugees at Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar, the party’s spokesman has said.BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir made the announcement in the middle of a discussion at Dhaka around 3pm Wednesday.
“We just received news that our central relief team taking 20 trucks of relief for Rohingya refugees has been stopped by authorities while on the way to Ukhia. The team being led by Mirza Abbas is being obstructed by police.”
“Not only that, the police are also surrounding our offices in Cox’s Bazar. Our top leaders are confined to the office rooms,” Fakhrul told the discussion held at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh.
The Cox’s Bazar authorities were not available for comment on his allegation.
The BNP convoy was headed to the refugees in Cox’s Bazar, a day after the camps were visited by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Fresh refugee arrivals from Myanmar after renewed violence in Rakhine state have already neared 400,000. With old refugee camps filled to capacity, they have been living in makeshift tents of plastic sheet and bamboo.
The ongoing exodus followed the worst conflict involving the stateless Muslim minority community in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Muslim insurgents in a major escalation of violence attacked 30 Myanmar security posts on Aug 25, prompting the country’s powerful army to respond brutally with a ‘clearance operation’ in Rakhine.
Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh have reported indiscriminate firing by soldiers, burning of villages, rape and looting by locals.
The Awami League-led government under increased pressure over the influx has warned archrival BNP not to ‘politicise’ the crisis.
Few months ago, a BNP relief team headed by Mirza Fakhrul was stopped while it was headed to landslide victims in Rangamati.
“This incident has unmasked the government. The government claims it is with Rohingyas but it is now proven to be eyewash,” Fakhrul said.
“They would not have stopped our relief convoy if it was really with these helpless people.”