Bangladesh police detained 450 Rohingya celebrating a Muslim festival on a beach, officials said on Thursday, in a further sign of growing intolerance towards the refugees.

Bangladesh bans the 920,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees from leaving camps surrounded by barbed wire in the southeast where they have been stuck for almost five years.

Most fled to Bangladesh after a military offensive in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017 that the United States designated in March as genocide.

Police spokesman Rafiqul Islam told AFP that officers detained “more than 450 Rohingya” in raids in the town of Cox’s Bazar late Wednesday on the second day of the Eid holidays, a major Muslim festival.

Islam said the operation was part of “security measures” in the country’s largest resort district which attracts millions of tourists during holiday seasons including Eid al-Fitr.

“Rohingyas are involved in various crimes. It is unsafe for our tourists. We have strengthened the security of the city. As tourists visit Cox’s Bazar on Eid al-Fitr, we have stepped up patrols to keep them safe,” he said.

Those detained were set to be sent back to the camps. Several told AFP at a police station that they went to the beach for Eid festivities.

Source: National News Agency