Refugee camp shootout

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DHUAPALONG, Bangladesh (Reuter) - At least five Burmese Muslims were killed in a clash with police and troops at a refugee camp in south-eastern Bangladesh yesterday, witnesses said.

The shootout at Dhuapalong camp began after members of Burmese Muslim rebel groups infiltrated a crowd of refugees and attacked police, using automatic weapons. Paramilitary troops were sent in as the situation got out of control. A police officer said refugees later joined the group of rebels with swords, shovels, axes and knives.

As the shooting ended at Dhuapalong, hundreds of troops were still pouring out of their base at nearby Cox's Bazar to reinforce other refugee camps.

Up to 300,000 Burmese Muslims, known as Rohingyas, are sheltering in 19 camps in south-eastern Bangladesh. They began fleeing across the border last December, telling of mass killings, forced conscription and torture by the Burmese army.

Tension has grown between the Rohingyas and some local people, who are angry at the strain on resources in the area. Yesterday's clash broke out an hour after some 10,000 refugees staged a march in a nearby camp in protest at what they called moves to send them home without UN guarantees of their safety.