Myanmar has increased deployment of army and Border Guard Police with heavy weapons inside 150 yards of its border opposite to Tumbru under Naikhyangchari in Bandarban as Rohingyas continued to enter Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban.
The government on Thursday summoned Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka Lwin Oo and protested against unusual mobilisation of huge troops with heavy arms and ammunition violating international conventions along Tumbru border where several thousand ethnic minority people of Myanmar had been staying along the zero line.
Acting foreign secretary Md Khurshed Alam conveyed to the ambassador Oo that such military buildup would create confusion within Bangladesh and escalate border tensions.
He asked the ambassador to convey Myanmar authorities for the immediate pullback of Myanmar security forces along with military assets from the area.
Khurshed Alam also expressed concern saying that such event might hamper the process of repatriation of Rohingyas which both sides agreed to implement.
A diplomatic note was also handed over to the ambassador, said a foreign ministry release.
Myanmar started heavy military buildup on Thursday within two weeks of request of Bangladesh, at a home minister-level meeting in Dhaka on February 16, for maintaining international conventions for stopping movement of the defence forces in bordering areas without notice for keeping the border of the two countries peaceful.
A top official in border guard headquarters said that Myanmar troops opened a blank fire opposite to Tumbru border Thursday evening.
Border Guard Bangladesh additional director general (operation and training) Brigadier General Mujibur Rahman at a press conference at its headquarters in Dhaka on Thursday said that the deployment of Myanmar’s additional border guard police and army increased about 150 yards inside Myanmar, opposite to Tumbru border, by military pattern pickups and lorries between Tumbru border post 34 and 35.
He said that Myanmar also deployed heavy weapons there and they got the information from ground observation and intelligences.
‘BGB too is now alert. We have been observing the situation. We have called a flag meeting, but yet to get any response....Besides, we have sent a protest note,’ he said.
‘The situation is still under our control, we are now on alert and have increased our power too,’ he said.
He said that border guards were ready to discharge duties for the country if ‘any situation arises’ and expected that the problem would be solved at the ground-level through flag meeting very soon.
Mujibur said that mobilising troops with heavy weapons at bordering areas was out of border norms.
He said that border guards had called to know the reason of the mobilisation.
The border guard official said that the border guards
had established barbed wire and strengthened them along the border and established surveillance equipment of developed technology.
He said that for past one month Myanmar border guard police had repeatedly been asking Rohingyas, staying at no-man’s land at Tumbru border, using public announcement system to move elsewhere from the border. ‘This can be said a type of bid to push [Rohingyas into Bangladesh].’
The Naikhyangchari upazila nirbahi officer SM Sarwar Kamal who visited the area on Thursday told New Age that the situation was normal in the area and no Rohingya entered Bangladesh.
He said that the Rohingyas now staying along the zero line became frightened in the morning when the army troops and additional border guard police were mobilised. ‘But they are normal now as they could understand that the border guard police would be able to do no harm to them at this moment.’
Ghumdhum union parishad chairman Md Abu Taher Sarkar said that the situation in his area was normal. ‘Rohingyas along Tumbru zero line do not want to enter Bangladesh but to go back if they get suitable situation.’
Zahid Hossain Siddiqui, nirbahi officer of Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar, said that Rohingyas in groups continued to enter Bangladesh through different points in every two or three days.
‘On February 27, 28 Rohingyas of 20 families enter Bangladesh,’ he said.
The Bangladesh government and international community continue struggling to cope with the situation as over 6.88 lakh Rohingyas have so far entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 making it one of the biggest humanitarian problems of the world.
The new influx began after Myanmar security forces on August 25, 2017 responded to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s reported attacks by launching a violence that the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing.
Officials estimated that the new influx increased the number of Myanmar people living in Bangladesh to 11.07 lakh.