Bangladesh asks Myanmar to exercise restraint amid escalated border tension

Bangladesh currently offers refuge to over 1.1 million Rohingyas as a ruthless Myanmar military cleansing campaign in August 2017 forced their influx to the country

September 18, 2022 09:00 am | Updated 09:00 am IST - Dhaka

Bangladesh currently offers refuge to over 1.1 million Rohingyas as a ruthless Myanmar military cleansing campaign in August 2017 forced their influx to the country. File

Bangladesh currently offers refuge to over 1.1 million Rohingyas as a ruthless Myanmar military cleansing campaign in August 2017 forced their influx to the country. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Bangladesh on Saturday asked Myanmar to exercise restraint as tensions escalated in frontiers over the use of artillery guns along the borders by its forces which killed a Rohingya child and wounded several others in the past several days.

“Bangladesh does want war,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters here when asked for comments on the Myanmar security forces actions on the borders, frightening both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas who took refuge in makeshift camps in the neighbourhood.

Mr. Kamal said Bangladesh would inform the United Nations if Myanmar does not end the firing near the Bangladesh border as "we have repeatedly warned Myanmar through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but they did not heed the warnings".

Mr. Kamal said Bangladesh wanted to resolve issues with Myanmar peacefully and expected the neighbour to realise their mistake and refrain from doing anything in future that impedes bilateral relations.

Also Read | For Rohingya, there is no place called home

"As we do not want conflict, our efforts are underway to find a peaceful solution with Myanmar. We will do everything,” Mr. Kamal said, attributing Myanmar actions to its internal conflicts with rebel groups like the Arakan Liberation Army.

"Sometimes a good relationship was seen between Myanmar and the Arakan Army, sometimes it turned into war, for reasons unknown to us. But definitely their war should remain within their boundaries," Mr. Kamal said.

Mr. Kamal said Dhaka was observing that Myanmar forces were engaged in near identical conflicts with their own rebel groups in India’s Mizoram borders and frontiers with Thailand and China but “conflicts in their country (Myanmar) should remain within their borders”.

Also Read | Prolonged Rohingya stay impacts Bangladesh’s stability, says PM Sheikh Hasina

Mr. Kamal said Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) is keeping a strict vigil on the situation on the frontier with Myanmar to prevent influx of people from the neighbouring country.

"Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) never wants war, we want a peaceful solution. Let their internal conflict keep within their boundaries. We are always protesting what is happening in our soil from outside," Mr. Kamal said.

The minister’s comments came a day after one teenage Rohingya boy died and six people, including a Rohingya child, sustained critical injuries in firing and mortar shelling from across the Myanmar border in Gumdhum area of Bangladesh’s southeastern Bandarban district on Friday.

Also Read | Rohingya must be part of Myanmar crisis solution, says U.N. chief

On the same day, a Bangladeshi youth was injured and lost one of his legs in a landmine explosion along the Headmanpara border area.

Reports from the borders said Bangladeshis as well as Rohingyas, who fled their homeland in the Rakhine state on the other side of the frontier to take refuge in Bangladesh were passing days in fear in view of indiscriminate gunfire while bullets and mortar shells often continued to land inside Bangladesh.

Officials said BGB stepped up patrols and surveillance ever since two unexploded mortar shells from Myanmar landed in Bangladesh territory on August 28.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already summoned the Myanmar envoy to Dhaka thrice over the issue.

Bangladesh currently offers refuge to over 1.1 million Rohingyas as a ruthless Myanmar military cleansing campaign in August 2017 forced their influx to the country.

Dhaka earlier said it hoped that repatriation of the Rohingya would start later this year, but experts said the clashes between the Myanmar military and rebels indicated that the conditions did not exist for the Rohingya to agree to return to their homeland.

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