BGB on alert

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published at 12:51am on September 16, 2020

Myanmar military has resumed crackdown in villages of Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine adjacent to south-eastern border with Bangladesh spreading panic across the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

At least 400 Myanmar troops, on early Tuesday, launched an operation in village Gwa Son of Maungdaw township and arrested five Rohingya men, officials with knowledge of the matter told New Age.

The troops searched houses of Rohingya Muslim families of village Tha Yet Oke of Maungdaw township.

In absence of the male members of the family in the houses at Gwa Son, the troops on Sunday took away three Rohingya women to unknown places.

The locations of the operations were opposite the bordering Domdomia and Jadipara areas in Teknaf of Cox’s bazar in Bangladesh, said an official.

Border Guard Bangladesh has kept troops on alert along the border sensing troops’ movement inside Rakhine and risk of resumption of intrusions of people from the Myanmar side.  

‘We are absolutely ready in all border outposts and our patrolling has also been intensified,’ Lieutenant Colonel Ali Haider Azad Ahmed, commanding officer of BGB 34 Battalion, told New Age on Tuesday evening. 

‘We will not allow any new intrusion,’ he said.

Several Bangladesh officials deployed in Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar said on Tuesday that members of the Rohingya community, who had been forcibly displaced by Myanmar military since August 2017 were now living in temporary shelters inside Bangladesh, were worried after getting news from their relatives still staying in Rakhine about the resumption of crackdown on the minority community living in different villages.

The camp managements have asked camp leaders, who are Rohingyas themselves, to stay alert about the activities and movements essential for maintaining calmness in the camps.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters on Tuesday that the government ‘is at the ready to tackle any situation’. 

Myanmar’s military set a village on fire in Rakhine State’s Kyauktaw township and killed two civilians in the evening on September 3, according to Irrawaddy.com

Troops shelled village Phayapaung on the Yangon-Sittwe road before torching houses and killing two villagers, according to relatives of the victims.

‘My son was returning from work in Kyauktaw by bike at around 5:00pm when he encountered Tatmadaw [military] troops. They told him to lead them to the village. An explosion occurred near the village following which the troops attacked,’ said Nyo Maung Hla, father of 27-year-old victim Ko Maung Nyunt Win.

Military trucks came from the direction of Kyauktaw and surrounded the village. Villagers were told to leave their homes as soldiers looted their belongings before setting their houses ablaze, said Nyo Maung Hla.

The Bangladesh government on September 13 summoned Myanmar ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe and protested at the visible movement of Myanmar military fishing trawlers at places very close to the border of the two countries.

Foreign minister director general for Myanmar wing Delwar Hossain confirmed that ambassador Moe was called to the foreign ministry for handing over a diplomatic note protesting against the suspicious movements of Myanmar troops.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on September 14 that recent civilian casualties in Myanmar may amount to ‘further war crimes’ and that three years after an exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, no concrete measures to hold Myanmar accountable had been taken.

Satellite images and eyewitness accounts indicated that areas of northern Rakhine were burnt in recent months and called for an independent investigation, Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to AFP.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed instruments to send some 860,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, to their home in Rakhine, as most of them  entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.

The latest Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 1.2 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.