Tension eases at the border
12:00 AM, March 04, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:43 AM, March 04, 2018

Tension eases at the border

Myanmar workers building roads near border fence in Ghumdhum, Tombru

The situation in Ghumdhum and Tombru border in Naikhyangchhari upazila was calm yesterday, following the flag meeting between Border Guards Bangladesh and Myanmar Border Guard Police a day before.

No BGP members were seen patrolling the area but a few of them were seen sitting by a barbed wire fence at the border around 8:00am. Many Myanmarese were seen working on roads near the fence, locals said.

"The situation is better now. We heaved a sigh of relief," said Zahir Ahmed, headteacher of Ghumdhum Government Primary School.

However, there is a sense of worry among the Rohingyas living on the no man's land.

Locals became panicked as heavily armed Myanmar troops started patrolling along the border fence two days ago.

The patrolling centred a strip of no man's land where some 6,500 Rohingyas took shelter after fleeing a brutal army crackdown last August.

In the wake of strong protest by Dhaka, Myanmar on Friday defended the deployment and said it was for "their internal security" and not targeted at Bangladesh.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said the members of BGB and BGP would coordinate patrolling of the border areas on their respective sides from March 27 as part of a previous agreement, reports BSS.

"In the flag meeting, Myanmar said it had deployed their soldiers in the border areas over wrong information and now they have removed heavy weapons from the Tambru border," he said while speaking at a programme in Dhaka.

In reply to a query, the home minister said, "I hope that the Rohingyas would be able to return to their homeland soon … .”


US President's Deputy Assistant Lisa Curtis yesterday said Myanmar has to take back the Rohingyas from Bangladesh after ensuring their security and dignity.

Curtis, Donald Trump's top adviser on South Asia, along with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat, visited the Transit Camp at Kutupalong in Ukhia of Cox's Bazar yesterday morning and talked to the refugees.

Speaking to journalists later, Curtis said Myanmar will have to completely implement the report of Kofi Annan Commission to solve the Rohingya crisis.

She lauded Bangladesh government for sheltering the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.

"To solve this growing crisis, the US government will always be beside Bangladesh government," Curtis told reporters.


During a visit to Jonarpara around 4:00pm, The Daily Star correspondent found Myanmarese workers building roads along the border near the fence.

BGB members at Konarpara, adjacent to zero line at Ghumdhum, said they were stricter than before regarding the movement of Rohingyas staying near the zero line.

Rohingya leaders Arif Ahmed and Dil Mohammad said they did not hear any announcement from the BGP like they had heard before and that there were no provocations from the border police now.

"But a sense of panic is still there," said Arif.

Jahangir Aziz, chairman of Ghumdhum union parishad, said the people would feel relieved only after Myanmar takes back the Rohingyas.

Major Iqbal Ahmed, deputy commanding officer of BGB 34 Battalion at Cox's Bazar, said after the flag meeting, the situation has become normal. But the BGB has taken a strong position in the border areas and was keeping an eye on the activities of BGP.

BGB deployment at Ghumdhum and Tumbru was increased while movement of locals and media was limited on security grounds.


[Our Cox's Bazar correspondent contributed to this report]

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