Tension in Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar at Tambru under Naikkhongchhari upazila in Bandarban continued for the second day on Friday following deployment of additional forces and weaponry on the no man’s land in violation of international law.
Deployment of additional Myanmar forces in the line of control (LoC) has added fuel to misunderstanding between the two countries over influx of lacks of Rogingyas into Bangladesh following persecution by Myanmar forces.
Myanmar troops build-up along Bangladesh border has taken place at a time when talks between two countries for repatriation of the displaced Rohingya people continue.
Around 6,000 Rohingyas, who remain stranded on the no man’s land and wait for return to their homeland, are in grip of panic for deployment of troops just few hundred yards away.
Myanmar forces also fired blank shots to create panic across the border, apparently to frighten the Rohingyas in order to prevent them form their return home.
Local administration officials, public representatives and eye witnesses authenticated the blank shots.
However, the Myanmar authorities denied firing any shots.
They claimed that they deployed troops along the border for ensuring internal security and face militant threat.
Reposing to a call of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) took part at a flag meeting at 3:00pm on Friday to discuss the issue.
BGP representatives informed BGB officials that Myanmar deployed additional forces at their side along the border at Tambru under Naikkhongchhari upazila in Bandarban for internal security.
The flag meeting at Ghumdhum Border Observation Post (BOP) lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes. A seven-member BGB delegation led by Lt Col Manjurul and a nine-member BGP team attended the flag meeting.
The BGP made the claim that deployment of troops for security reason, said 34 BGB Commanding Officer (CO) Lieutenant Colonel Manjurul Hasan Khan.
Addressing a press conference after the flag meeting, 34 BGB Commanding Officer (CO) Lieutenant Colonel Manjurul Hasan Khan said BGB asked Myanmar side to inform any deployment of troops along the border beforehand.
The Myanmar side promised that they will send early message to Bangladesh prior to deployment of troops or firing blank shots in the border area in future.
Another source said BGP wanted to know the reason for installation of CCTV in the border area.
In reply, BGB said it was done for security reason also.
The Myanmar border guards also expressed their willingness to bring back the 5,000 Rohingyas remaining stranded on no man’s land between the two countries, he said.
“The situation in the border area is now normal,” said the CO.
Earlier, Bandarban Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dilip Kumar Banik visited the border area in the morning.
Locals said repeated blank shots have created panic among the Rohingyas staying on the zero line along Tambru border point and the Bangladeshis living adjacent to the border.
Leaders of Rohingyas said that they heard sounds of blank shots several times after 9:00pm on Thursday and it continued throughout the night.
Myanmar forces have set ladders against the pillars of barbed-wire fence in the border area and they are likely to enter the zero point anytime and open fire on the Rohingyas, some panicked Rohingyas said.
After the influx started in August last year, around seven lakh Rohingyas entered Bangladesh through different border points.
Some 6,500 Rohingyas of 1,000 families have been living at the no-man’s-land at the Tambru border.
Eshar Alam, a chairman of Rait area in Myanmar and now living on no-man’s-land, said Myanmar deployed additional forces on Thursday morning.
Myanmar forces equipped with heavy firearms started patrol along the border since then. They kept continuing patrol in shifts, spreading panic among the Rohingyas and locals, he said.
They also asked the Rohingyas though loudspeaker to leave the zero line and threatened to remove them forcibly several times, Eshar said.
Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain said additional forces have been deployed in the area and they fired blank shots to frighten the Rohingyas.
He said the district administration remains cautious and keeps a close eye on the situation over Myanmar troops build-up.