- Govt is going to take a hard line
- Smugglers change smuggling routes to avoid arrest
- Yaba often seized in coastal areas
The bordering areas of Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar are still a hotspot for human trafficking and smuggling of illegal firearms and deadly drugs.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Tuesday that firing will be carried out in the border area if necessary to stop smuggling of arms and drugs and human trafficking.
He said it was decided not to fire on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. But illegal activities will be stopped from now on. Then human trafficking and drug-arms smuggling will stop. The home ministry will take a decision in this regard.
The foreign minister said on Wednesday that the government has tightened security along the country’s border with Myanmar to check arms-drugs smuggling and human trafficking.
"We won't sit idle. We’ll take stern action," Momen warned.
The foreign minister told journalists that he talked to the home minister to take more stringent measures to stop all smugglings across Myanmar border.
Alongside land routes, organised rackets are now using different waterways at the sea, connecting bordering points of Myanmar, as safe routes for smuggling Yaba tablets into the country.
They have chosen the waterways that remained less monitored to transport the drugs from deep-sea border areas due to the tightened surveillance on roads by law enforcement agencies.
Yaba smuggling into Cox's Bazar could not be stopped in any way as members of the Yaba syndicate is changing the smuggling routes constantly to avoid arrest, detectives said.
Big consignments of Yaba tablets are being seized by different law enforcement agencies, including police, Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Bangladesh Coast Guard, from different coastal areas in Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram.
A well-protected border is a must to prevent intrusion from Myanmar and crimes like human trafficking and smuggling, said officials in Teknaf.
Myanmar shares a 271-kilometre border with Cox's Bazar and Bandarban, 54-km with Teknaf upazila alone.
While the border on Myanmar side is secured with fences and watchtowers, it is unfenced and poorly manned on Bangladesh side.
BGB officials say ensuring border protection is very difficult with inadequate resources. It is also not easy to guard a border that cuts through canals, hills, forests, river and sea.
Apart from the continuous Rohingya intrusion, there are many other longstanding problems in the bordering area. Smuggling of arms and drugs and human trafficking are the serous ones.
It is learnt that at least 10 Yaba factories have been set up in bordering areas inside Myanmar to smuggle the illegal drug into Bangladesh.
An official involved with the border security management there said, “If we cannot stop the intrusion through the border, it's impossible to stop smuggling.”
In an operation in Teknaf, the BGB arrested six people for their involvement in drug smuggling. Engine-driven trawlers and fishing nets were seized at the time.
After questioning the fishermen in the trawlers, 90,000 pieces of yaba worth Tk 28 million were seized inside the oil tank.