Border Guard Bangladesh planted a flag at the border with Myanmar in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban on Friday asking for a flag meeting with Myanmarese border guards.Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
Myanmar border police finally handed over the body of Border Guard Bangladesh Nayek Mizanur Rahman at the frontier near Painchhari of Bandarban yesterday afternoon amid high tension on the border and diplomatic manoeuvres.
Mizanur, 43, son of a martyred freedom fighter, was shot on Wednesday when Border Guard Police (BGP) of the neighbouring country without provocation opened fire on a BGB patrol team near Border Pillar-52.
The Myanmarese border troops had reportedly intruded into Bangladesh territory and took away injured Mizanur.
When a BGB team went near the spot on Friday looking for Mizanur, the BGP opened fire on them that led to a gun battle.
A 10-member BGB team, led by Major Tarek, went across the border in response to a call from the BGP yesterday. The team identified the body of Mizanur, said BGB Director General Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed at a press briefing at the capital's BGB Pilkhana headquarters in the evening.
He said the team brought the body back around 5:45pm but Mizanur's light machine gun was not recovered. As the Myanmar side agreed to have a flag meeting on June 3, the issue of the firearm could be discussed then, he added.
The BGB team had demanded that the Myanmarese force probe and punish people responsible for Mizanur's death and guard against such incidents in future, Maj Gen Aziz said.
He said the situation at the border had not deteriorated but security had been tightened following reports of army deployment by Myanmar.
Rashid Ahmed, chairman of Dochari Union Parishad, told our Bandarban correspondent that the situation there was still tense and has been like this since Wednesday. Women and children in the area are not spending nights at their homes.
Mong nu Marma, chief of local indeginous people, said about 200 families are in fear of the situation deteriorating.
Mizanur is the son of martyred freedom fighter Lance Corporal Abdul Hafiz. He left behind his wife and four daughters, reports a correspondent from Comilla.
His grieving mother Rabeya Akhter said, "I lost his father 43 years ago and never even saw his body. Now, after all these years, I have to sacrifice my son for the country .... I'm waiting to get my son's body back home."
Amidst escalating tension near the frontier since Wednesday, Bangladesh had mounted diplomatic pressure on its eastern neighbour, summoning the Myanmar envoy in Dhaka twice in three days.
Maj Gen Aziz
The foreign office summoned Myanmar ambassador U Myo Myint Than to state guesthouse Padma around 10:30am yesterday to protest the unprovoked firing by BGP and Mizanur's killing. In a note verbale, Secretary Mustafa Kamal asked for return of Mizanur's body.
Bangladesh demanded a thorough investigation, says a foreign ministry press release, adding that Bangladesh urged Myanmar to immediately and completely withdraw all military troops from the border if they had been deployed.
The Myanmar envoy had assured them of getting the message conveyed to the authorities concerned in Myanmar.
At the lengthy meeting at Padma, the issue of militant group Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) came up. It was noted that the BGP had thought Mizanur to be a RSO man and shot him, causing his death, but they later realised he was a BGB personnel, sources said.
Bangladesh made it clear at the meeting that there was no RSO in its territory.
BGB chief Maj Gen Aziz also said at the press conference that there was no RSO in Bangladesh. He expressed frustration and disappointment over the BGP not cooperating and responding to issues raised by the BGB over the years.
Maj Gen Aziz said the June 9-14 summit-level meeting between BGB and BGP in Myanmar would be an opportunity to sort out issues between the two border forces.
About reports of a few more BGB men missing since Friday's gunfight, the BGB DG said four slightly injured jawans were initially reported to be missing but they had returned to base after a few hours.
Supplies and ammo being sent to Border Guard Bangladesh troops from their Lemuchhari camp in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban yesterday as tension was running high at the border with Myanmar following two gun battles in three days.Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
BGB sources said that without any provocation Myanmar border guards had also opened fire on a BGB patrol team at Baishpari in Ghundhoom of Naikkhangchhari on May 21.
BGB jawans alert at the border.Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
In November 2008, tension ran high as Myanmar started oil and gas exploration in Bangladesh's territorial waters. Dhaka had deployed warships and sent a diplomatic team to Myanmar.