The ongoing conflict between the junta government and rebel groups in Myanmar has affected the border areas of Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Residents of the border areas are in fear due to the firing and clashes in Myanmar.
Locals say the sound of heavy gunfire is coming from across the border.
A resident of the border area of Teknaf said, ‘There has been shelling here for a long time. I can’t even sleep properly at night because of the sound. Children are also scared. The sound of heavy gunfire is heard 24 hours a day.’
Last Saturday, 13 mortar shells and 1 bullet landed on the Cox’s Bazar border of Bangladesh during the clash between Myanmar Army and Arakan Army. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) sent a written protest to the Myanmar Border Guard (BGP) immediately protesting this incident.
Cox’s Bazar Battalion-34 BGB was in charge of the border where mortar shells and bullets came. After this incident, the local administration announced the closure of some schools in Tambru and Ghumdhum areas of Naikshyongchari. BGB Director General Major General AKM Nazmul Hasan visited the area and the Tambru border on Sunday, the day after the incident.
He informed about strict surveillance at the border to prevent any new Rohingya infiltration due to the conflict in Myanmar.
On January 15, the insurgent group Arakan Army (AA) claimed to occupy the town of Paletwa in Rakhine State. The group’s spokesperson, Khain Thu Kha, said, “We have captured Paletwa, a port city on the banks of the Kaladan River. The city is very important for commercial transactions with neighboring countries (Bangladesh and India).’
Last Friday, the Arakan Army announced that they had captured Pakta, the most important port city in Rakhine.
Since then, fierce fighting started with the army and the Arakan army. The Arakan Army is now desperate to take control of the entire Rakhine state. Amid the raging conflict across the border, there are fears of Rohingya infiltration into the country again.
Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner. Mizanur Rahman said, ‘Our border guard is very careful. Further deployments have also taken place. Our local administration is also working. We hope that any kind of influx will not happen now. This is what we are working on now. We have also put our officers on alert in the Rohingya camps.’
In 2017, the Myanmar army began a massive crackdown on the Rohingya, forcing the Rohingya to leave the country en masse. At that time, more than 1.2 million Rohingyas crossed the border and sought refuge in Bangladesh. Now they are living in the largest refugee camp in the world in Cox’s Bazar.