Bangladesh tightens border as thousands flee Rakhine clashes


A Bangladeshi border guard holds an umbrella as he stands guard in the rain at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in MaungDaw township, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 08 June 2015. Photo: Nyunt Win/EPA

Bangladesh has strengthened security along the border with Myanmar as thousands of Rohingyas are fleeing the country after the deaths of at least 71 in attacks on 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine State.

The Rohingya Muslims, who left homes fearing more persecution by Myanmar after the attacks, gathered along the Naf River after crossing it through Palongkhali of Ukhia on Friday.

Border Guard Bangladesh or BGB troops stood guard at some distance to stop the Rohingyas from entering Cox’s Bazar.

The border guards stopped and sent back, with water and food, 146 Rohingyas to Myanmar on Thursday night.

BGB Teknaf-2 Battalion Commander Lt Col Ariful Islam said the border guards ramped up security last week after Myanmar intensified army operations.

“We’ve raised the alarm after last night’s incidents in Rakhaine,” he added.

Around 87,000 Rohingyas joined hundreds of thousands of refugees in Bangladesh after the Myanmar Army crackdown on militants following an attack on a police post in October last year.

The attacks on Friday have now raised fear of another wave of Rohingya influx.

Locals at Ukhia said they heard gunshots from the other side of the border late on Thursday and that the pressure of Rohingyas from Myanmar rose early in the morning.

The Rohingyas took position along several kilometers of the river by afternoon.

Fish farms, swamps, and farmlands separated them from the Bangladeshis, who include locals, BGB troops and village police.

Cox’s Bazar 34 Battalion Commander Lt Col Manjurul Ahsan Khan said that the border guards will try to send them back.

“Now we have strengthened patrol and monitoring so that no one can enter,” he added.

SOURCE: BDNEWS24.COM

Republished with permission

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