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Explosions across Naf river rock border

Published : 19 Feb 2024 10:45 PM

After a day of calm, the sounds of heavy explosions began again from the early hours of Monday morning. They came from the eastern and southern parts of the Naf River, within Myanmar’s borders, near the Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar.

Although the situation was somewhat calm in the area bordering Myanmar yesterday (17 February), the explosion started around 5am this morning and continued till noon without pause.

Meanwhile, tremors were felt on this (Bangladesh) side of the Naf River, near Shah Porir Island and Saint Martin’s.

According to the locals in the border areas, intense clashes have erupted while gunfire escalated between the Myanmar government forces and the Arakan Army inside Mandalay City, the second-largest city in Myanmar after Yangon, for the past few days.

Abdus Salam, a member of Ward 9 of Teknaf’s Sabrang union, said widespread gunfire and heavy shelling, including mortars, were heard intermittently from the Shah 

   Porir Island area late Thursday night to Saturday midnight. 

“The intensit of the gunfire decreased since Sunday. Yesterday, sounds of gunfire could be heard at intervals of half an hour to two hours,” he said.

Abdus Salam noted, citing multiple sources, that Rohingya areas - including Megichong, Kadirbil, Nurullapara, Mangala, Nalbanya, Phadongcha and Hasurat - in the city witnessed heavy clashes causing residents to flee from one place to another to save their lives. 

Many have reportedly taken shelter along the banks of rivers and canals along the Bangladesh border.

Teknaf Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) Md Adnan Chowdhury said, “The patrols of the BGB and Coast Guard have been increased due to the volatile situation in Myanmar and border residents have been advised to remain vigilant.”

Meanwhile, concerns about another round of Rohingya infiltration through the Naf River have once again escalated, as pointed out by local representatives in Teknaf.

Khurshid Alam, a member of Ward 4 of Saint Martin Union, said fear among the islanders subsided slightly after the relevant calm on Sunday but tourist ships plying on the Teknaf-Saint Martin route remain closed for security reasons.

“Although two ships operated on the Inani-Saint Martin route, the number of passengers has decreased,” he added.

On the other hand, local representatives in the border areas of Naikhongchhari upazila of Bandarban and Hoikyong Kanjarpara border in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar said tension in these areas has simmered down slightly for more than a week.