Teknaf, Bangladesh: Thirteen refugees were arrested by forest department personnel in Teknaf for carrying firewood from a nearby forest on January 17.


At about 8 a.m. on the day, 13 refugees from Nayapara refugee camp entered the forest to collect firewood.  After collecting it they were returning to the camp around noon, said a Majee from the camp who did not want to be named.


On the way to their camp, some members of the forest department of “Ledha” under the Teknaf police station stopped them and seized the firewood. The refugees were taken to the forest office and detained till 9 p.m. Some of the refugees were physically tortured in the forest office.


However, the refugees were released after 9 p.m. after they paid Taka 500 per head.


In the refugee camp, the World Food Programme (WFP) provides 40 kilograms of rice chaff coated with some chemicals through the UNHCR to each family every month. But this is not sufficient for family members. Besides, the refugees have not been getting supplies of rice chaff over the last two months leading to a shortage of fuel.


Thus, the refugees went to the forest to collect firewood to cope with the fuel crisis.


Some of the arrested refugees are Mohamed Ismail (21). Son of Abul Fayas, Abdul Jalil (27),Nabi Hussain (28),son of Noor Ahmed, Mohamed Hussain (27), son of Zakir Ahmed, Rostom Ali (13), son of Mohamed Haron. They belong to Nayapara refugee camp