Myanmar frees Bangladesh border guard: official


Photo: Screenshot from bdnews24.com

Myanmar released on Thursday a Bangladeshi border guard detained eight days ago during a rare exchange of gunfire between troops from the two countries, a Bangladeshi paramilitary officer said.

Abdur Razzak was handed over during a "flag meeting" of troops from the nations in the Myanmar border township of Maungdaw, a Bangladesh Border Guard spokesman said.

"Razzak was handed over to our representative team this afternoon. His belongings (including) uniform, submachine gun, ammunition etc have also been returned," Major Abu Russell Siddiki told AFP.

BGB officials have said the Myanmar Border Guard Police held Razzak during the shoot-out on June 17 on the Nafriver, which divides the two countries. 

The area where the firing occurred is notorious for people smuggling between the two countries, which have come under the spotlight over a migrant crisis in recent weeks. But clashes between border forces are rare.

A Bangladeshi border guard was also wounded during the firing which a BGB director said was "the outcome of a total misunderstanding".

But tensions rose after photos of a handcuffed Razzak were circulated on social media in Bangladesh, drawing sharp reactions from civilians.

People smuggling is rife in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district, which borders Myanmar, and many former fishermen have joined smuggling rings because they are so lucrative.

The scale of the issue was thrown into relief when thousands of migrants, most of them Rohingya from Myanmar or economic migrants from Bangladesh, were stranded in Southeast Asian waters last month.

The crisis followed a Thai crackdown on people smuggling that threw the multi-million dollar industry into disarray, leading gangmasters to abandon their victims on land and at sea. 

© AFP

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