Surging crime, bleak future push Rohingya in Bangladesh to risk lives at sea

By Ruma Paul, Sudipto Ganguly and Krishna N. Das COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (Reuters) - Mohammed Ismail says four of his relatives were killed by gunmen at the Rohingya

refugee camps in Bangladesh between April and October last year. He recalls the September night when, he says, he almost met the same fate: masked men kidnapped him, cut off parts

of his left arm and leg and dumped him in a canal. "They repeatedly asked me why I gave their personal details to the police," Ismail, seated on a plastic mat with his left

limbs covered in white bandage and cloth, told Reuters at the Kutupalong refugee camp. "I kept telling them I didn't know anything about them and had not provided any

information." About 730,000 Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority present in Myanmar for centuries but denied citizenship in the Buddhist-majority nation since 1982, fled to

Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military crackdown. Including others who migrated in prior waves, nearly 1 million live near the border in tens of thousands of huts made of bamboo

and thin plastic sheets. An increasing number of Rohingya are now leaving Bangladesh for countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia via perilous boat journeys, as rising crime

in the camps adds to longstanding troubles like a lack of educational and work opportunities and bleak prospects of returning to military-ruled Myanmar. Crimes recorded in

the camps - including murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery, human trafficking and narcotics trade - have soared in recent years, according to data that Bangladesh police shared

exclusively with Reuters. Murders rose to 31 in 2022, the highest in at least five years.