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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

BGB ordered to prevent possible influx of Myanmar citizens amid fierce fighting

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The government has ordered the Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) to remain alert at the highest level in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to prevent any possible influx of the Myanmar citizens as fierce fighting is going on in the bordering areas of Rakhine State.

The government has also planned to inform the diplomatic community of the evolving situation across the border.

“This time, we have some information, our agencies are better prepared. The BGB has been directed to remain on highest alert so that not a single Myanmar citizen can enter Bangladesh,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told reporters at his ministry today (September 1, 2022).

On August 28, two mortar shells from Myanmar landed on Tumbru border of Ghumdhum union in Bandarban’s Naikhyongchari.

Two days later, Myanmar forces allegedly fired several shots that hit different hilly areas of Ghumdhum union, though none was hurt, said villagers.

Also, a Myanmar helicopter intruded around 300 to 400 yards into Bangladeshi airspace near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border several times near Baishfari border between 11:00am and 2:00pm.

These took place as fighting between the Myanmar junta forces and rebel group Arakan Army have been taking place since early August. There was, however, no violation of airspace by Myanmar, said Shahriar Alam.

Foreign ministry has already summoned the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe to protest against shelling of two mortars.

“We understand the internal situation in Myanmar is worsening. We said it should not impact Bangladesh.”

He said many fear that the Rohingyas in Rakhine State may flee to Bangladesh again, but the state minister said any influx like that of 2016 and 2017 is unlikely as Bangladesh could not or did not want to resist for humanitarian ground.

Also, there are no Rohingyas living in Buthidaung and Rathedaung areas as they fled in 2016 and 2017.

Shahriar Alam said those who supported rebel groups had taken shelter in Bangladesh but as a responsible country the government arrested them and returned them to Myanmar.

In the past, he said, Myanmar showed intention of taking back Rohingyas only when there was international pressure. In recent times, Bangladesh engaged with Myanmar virtually twice and that the discussion has progressed.

“We are working on verification of the Rohingya list. Myanmar again expressed its interest to hold a meeting with us, possibly in person. The date has not been fixed yet,” he said.

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