The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord was signed two decades ago, but peace still remains elusive due to criminal activities like killing and extortion while the emergence of new armed group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) providing training to a militant group has become a major concern.
Communities living in the region have been trying to rebuild their lives leaving behind all the despair, but fears and conflicts put them back. Violence unleashed by armed groups kills people and destroys the prospect of peace.
Even tourism in Bandarban remains banned as part of high security measures preventing militant activities.
Bangladesh is marking the 25th anniversary of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord on Friday (December 2).
Read more: 25th anniversary of CHT Peace Treaty on Friday
Militant training at CHT with emergence of KNF
On October 20, members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested seven members of newly launched militant outfit Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya and three members of the armed separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) conducting drives at Bandarban and Rangamati.
Rab started their drives in these areas on October 9.
The main purpose of the drives by the elite force was to capture those who are taking shelter and taking training there after tracing their location, Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of Rab’s legal and Media Wing.
The arrestees confessed that they had an agreement with a separatist group (KNF) to provide them shelter and training in exchange for money, disclosed the Rab spokesman.
In 2021, the Amir of Jamatul Ansar fil Hindal Sharqiya had an agreement with the CHT-based armed group KNF regarding militant training in the area till next year. As per the agreement, Tk 3 lakh per month and food expenses of all KNF members were to be borne, according to the Rab officer.
Tourism banned in Bandarban
Bandarban district administration imposed a temporary restriction on visitors in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas from October 18 morning for the safety of tourists amid anti-militancy drive in the district's remote areas.
Later on October 23, the local administration discouraged tourists from traveling to Thanchi and Alikadam upazilas due to the same reason.
Read more: Anti-militancy drive in CHT: 10 arrestees sent to jail
The ban on tourism in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas has been extended for ninth time till December 4 while it was lifted in two others upazila.