THREE Rohingya men from Myanmar were caught recently with 800,000 'Yaba' tablets, a Thai terminology for 'crazy medicine', which is a concoction of methamphetamine and caffeine and has been very popular among youngsters in Bangladesh.
The arrests took place at a time when Bangladesh has been struggling to deal with a massive influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing unrest in neighbouring Rakhine state in Myanmar.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) detained the four men recently on a fishing trawler in the estuary of the Naf river, which divides the two countries. Earlier, the security forces had seized a number of large consignments of yaba from drug traffickers attempting to enter Cox's Bazar by land and sea. Last week Bangladesh Border Guards arrested two more Rohingya men from a boat in the Naf river carrying about 430,000 pieces of yaba pills.
Last year a Bangladesh counter-narcotics official told AFP that the country was struggling to stop drug trafficking from Myanmar, mainly because traffickers were using the Naf river as the main channel for smuggling and it was difficult to patrol the vast river. He said yaba pills were being produced in bathroom-sized labs in border areas of Myanmar.
The Rohingya tragedy is an unfolding crisis, a crisis that raises terrorism and social unrest not only for us but for Asia as a whole. The government should strengthen its surveillance so that the Rohingyas do not get opportunities to socialise with the local people. On the other hand, the local people of the area should also remain alert so that any untoward incident involving the Rohingyas is immediately reported to the security forces in the area.
East West University
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