Firing and artillery and mortar shelling continued on the Myanmar side of the Ghundhum border in Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari for the third consecutive day on Thursday.
Panic spread anew in the area when heavy firing resumed along the border around 8am, local people said.
No Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official has commented on the issue. Jahangir Aziz, chairman of Gumdhum Union Parishad, said that the firing has been continuing for over a month now. Artillery shelling, which was not heard for two days, resumed on Thursday.
Earlier, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Myanmar envoy to Dhaka thrice over the issue. Dhaka lodged strong protests and expressed deep concern at air and artillery strikes landing inside Bangladeshi territory and violations of the country’s air space.
The Myanmar side claimed that its military launched airstrikes after the ethnic Rakhine armed organization the Arakan Army (AA) seized a police outpost on the border in Maungdaw Township in northern Rakhine State. In the process, at least two rockets fired by regime aircraft landed inside Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh embassy in Yangon also raised the issue with the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bangladesh has been under tremendous pressure caused by a massive Rohingya population taking refuge in Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 and has been working to ensure a quick repatriation of the refugees to their homes in Myanmar.
On September 3, Myanmar helicopters intruded to within 300 to 400 yards of Bangladeshi airspace at Naikhongchhari point several times.
Around 9:20am, two helicopters and two aircraft appeared between pillars No 40 and 41 under Reju Amtali Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) BOP at Gumdhum Union.
Shells and gunshots were fired from warplanes and helicopters, local people reported.
On August 28, the Myanmar border security force, Border Guard Police (BGP), hurled mortar shells at Tumbru no-man’s land area. Two unexploded mortar shells were later recovered from the spot.
The Myanmar ambassador to Bangladesh, U Aung Kyaw Moe, was summoned for the third time to the Foreign Ministry on September 4.
Later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release: “During the meeting, the ambassador was also told that such activities are a grave threat to the safety and security of peace-loving people, a violation of the border agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar and contrary to the relationship of good neighbors.”
On September 3, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the government was following the situation in Myanmar.
“Violence is going on inside Myanmar. We have sealed the border. No matter how much Myanmar continues its provocation, we will not allow anyone to enter Bangladesh through the border,” he said.
The BGB had been put on alert so that no one from Myanmar could enter Bangladesh territory, the foreign minister added.
On September 1, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said that Bangladesh was better prepared to stop infiltration. “We do not want to step into Myanmar’s provocation or trap,” he said, adding that the Myanmar side might have a strategic benefit if they can move in such a unilateral direction.