Burma Times Desk Report: July 05, 2015
Too often the Bangladesh government and media has attributed the Ukhiya Teknaf ‘crime zone’ to the presence of the Rohingya refugees in the area. Now it seems that the government has suddenly become more serious to stem the flow of yaba tablets that are causing havoc to the young generation of the country.
The Bangladesh government is identifying some of the main culprits of yaba smuggling and human trafficking. Around hundred police personal are to be moved out of the area. Bangladesh police has been closely involved with the illicit trade. Without the active participation of police personal, the trade would not be possible.
Additionally the government has cracked down on human traffickers, both Bengalis and Rohingyas. Many have bee arrested and some have even been killed. As human smugglers, struggling from the closure of the sea routes explore new horizons in the yaba trade, this crackdown shall have an effect in countering the smuggling of the deadly drug.
One of the kingpins of organised crime in the area, the local MP of Teknaf and Ukhiya, Abdur Rahman Bodi has been removed from the circle of influential political leaders. Bodi is also charged with many criminal cases, and although he still has local influence, many say that his glory days are numbered. Bodi has close contacts across the border and is widely regarded as one of the main operatives of the illegal cross border trade.
The smuggling business, concentrated mainly of yaba pills has mostly benefited Burma at the cost of Bangladesh. Use of yaba tablets is low in Burma whereas in Bangladesh, its addiction has skyrocketed in recent years. Burma is the producer of yaba pills and its export to Bangladesh has brought in millions of dollars.
Burma is unlikely to react softly to the crackdown on crime syndicates. Already the BGP abducted a Bangladesh soldier in revenge of yaba seizures. Last year, one Bangladesh soldier was killed by BGP. However it remains to be seen how far Burma will go to protect its traditional narcotics business.