Myanmar's border force yesterday said it will release BGB Nayek Abdur Razzak if Bangladesh takes in 550 boat people found adrift at sea, according to the chief of BGB battalion responsible for Teknaf border.
“Myanmar BGP [Border Guard Police] told us today that they will return Razzak if we take in the 550 migrants,” Lt Col Abu Jar al Zahid, commanding officer of 42 Rifles Battalion told The Daily Star yesterday afternoon.
The 550 are among the 770 migrants rescued by Myanmar navy on May 29. Dhaka has been trying to verify whether any of them is a Bangladeshi citizen.
In another development last night, the public relations department of Border Guard Bangladesh released a statement from BGB Director General Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed that the Myanmar authorities have said Razzaq will be returned “honourably” and “unconditionally”.
Now on a China visit, the DG said, "I had a talk with our Defence Attaché (DA) in Myanmar Brig Gen Mahbub around 19:00pm today [7:00pm yesterday], who informed me that he had a meeting with Myanmar home ministry today [yesterday]. Myanmar home ministry has informed [him] that BGB Naik Razzaq will be returned honourably with his personal weapon, ammunition etc unconditionally.”
The Daily Star received the statement around 10:30pm.
Earlier in the day, Lt Col Zahid communicated thrice with Myanmar's BGP No 1 battalion's commanding officer Kyaw Teyza for holding a flag meeting on handover of Razzak, a BGB member of Domdomia Border Outpost in Teknaf.
The last of the communications was made at 12:30pm.
Lt Col Zahid said he had told his Myanmar counterpart that it would not be justified to tag the issue of migrants with Razzak's return. And he had informed the higher authorities about the condition Myanmar laid down for the abducted BGB man's release.
Earlier, Myanmar had claimed that the return of Razzak, abducted by some BGP men on June 17 from the Naf River under Bangladesh territory, is being delayed due to some official formalities.
“We are really enraged as despite repeated commitment to us and at the diplomatic level, Myanmar is giving a new condition for Razzak's return,” said an official at the BGB headquarters in Dhaka, wishing anonymity.
He, however, said the BGB will continue its efforts to bring back Razzak.
Contacted, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said he had heard about the Myanmar-imposed condition. But he declined to say anything more until receiving a written version from the BGB.
Meanwhile, the BNP at a press conference yesterday demanded resignation of Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali for the failure to bring back Razzak. Besides, independent lawmaker Haji Salim in parliament questioned the capability of BGB since it is yet to ensure release of the abducted BGB man.
RAZZAK'S SON NAMED 'MUKTI'
The family of Razzak named his newborn son Mukti, meaning freedom. “We have named him Mukti as we have been waiting eagerly to see my husband free,” Razzak's wife Asma Begum told The Daily Star yesterday.
She gave birth to the baby boy on Sunday at their village home in Natore while her husband was languishing in captivity in Myanmar.
On June 17, plainclothes BGP men in a trawler approached a seven-member BGB patrol team on two boats. The BGP men opened fire and abducted Razzak, according to BGB sources.
Instead of handing him over to Bangladesh, the Myanmar authorities circulated photographs of Razzak in handcuffs on the social media.