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Infiltration of BGP, army men continues

47 more BGP members enter Bangladesh

Published : 17 Apr 2024 10:29 PM

Members of the Myanmar security forces, including the country’s junta army and Border Guard Police (BGP), continue to enter Bangladesh for taking shelter amid the ongoing conflict between the Myanmar junta and the Arakan Army in Rakhine state.

Forty-six more BGP members entered Bangladesh through the Naikhongchhari border of Bandarban on Tuesday and another one took shelter in Bangladesh on Wednesday morning, said BGB officials.

With them, a total of 261 members of the Myanmar security forces are under the custody of the Bangladeshi authority, according to sources at the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Headquarters.  

BGB personnel seized their weapons and took them into custody, BGB public relations officer (PRO) Shariful Islam said.

The BGB members are already struggling to prevent the infiltration of Rohingyas and protect the Bangladesh border amid the ongoing civil war in Rakhine state of Myanmar. 

The BGB has kept the sheltered Myanmar security forces in Bangladesh border area close to Myanmar’s as soldiers of the neighboring country as per the border law. The BGB is providing them with food and medical services.

The Foreign Ministry is making extensive efforts to send back the sheltered army and BGP members to their country, government sources said.

But the Myanmar junta government is appears to be unwilling to take back the members of their security forces. 

A BGB official on condition of anonymity said 

that discussions are underway through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send back the members of the Myanmar security forces. 

He also hinted that all the members of Myanmar security forces, who took shelter in Bangladesh, are likely to be sent back to their country next week.

Meanwhile, loud sound of explosions reminiscent of a warzone has gripped the local residents near the Teknaf border in Cox's Bazar.

Adding to the tension, 46 members of the country's security forces fled the turmoil, seeking refuge in Bangladesh through the Naikhongchhari border of Bandarban on Tuesday night.

BGB PRO Shariful Islam confirmed the matter. 

Meanwhile, reports of bomb explosions and mortar shell blasts was coming intermittently from Wednesday morning in various areas of Rakhine municipality, including Whykong, Hnila and Shahpari island border in Teknaf.

Local residents are in grip of fear due to the sound of gunfire along the Marine Drive road.

Nazrul Islam, a resident of the bordering municipality area said, "Since morning, there has been the sound of gunfire on the border, giving the impression that a war is taking place nearby."

Residents along the border are passing days in fear due to ongoing fighting and gunfire between the Arakan Army and government forces in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The conflict has led to mortar shells and gunfire being heard in several border areas, including Uttarpara, Lombabil, Uluberia, Jimmkhali, Nayabazar, Hnila, Shahpari Island, and Jaliapara of the Teknaf border municipality.

Yasin, a resident of Shahpari Island said, "People on the border have been hearing gunfire from Myanmar's Rakhine state since Wednesday morning. Law enforcement agencies are on high alert along the Naf River border."

Mohammad Alam, a UP member of Ward No. 8 of Teknaf Whykong Union Parishad said, " Sound of heavy gunfire has been heard on the border since morning. "

Amid the escalating conflict, Myanmar's army is engaging in fierce battles with the separatist organisation Arakan Army in Maungdaw and Buthidaung. To address security concerns, members of BGB and Bangladesh Coast Guard have intensified patrol along the Naf River and border road in the 54km stretch from Whykong to Shahpari island of Teknaf upazila. Both agencies remain vigilant and prepared to tackle any emerging threats.

Coast Guard Headquarters Media Officer Lt. Commander Khandaker Munif Taqi said, "We are aware that some BGP members are seeking refuge due to the conflict in Rakhine. However, we have strengthened patrols to prevent infiltration through the Naf River. The Coast Guard stands ready to address any situation."

Earlier on February 15, 330 Myanmar nationals, including 302 BGP officials and four of their family members, two army personnel, 18 immigration members, and four civilians, who had entered Bangladesh, returned to their country.

The conflict claimed two lives on February 5, killing a Bangladeshi woman and a Rohingya man in the explosion of a mortar shell fired from Myanmar in Bandarban's Ghumdhum.