Myanmar border guards to be sent back: Home minister

Home minister Asaduzzaman KhanFile Photo

The 14 members of Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP), who fled and took refuge in Bangladesh, will be sent back to Myanmar, said home minister Asaduzzaman Khan.

The Bangladesh side through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is contacting the Myanmar side in this regard, said the home minister in response to queries of the newspersons at the secretariat on Sunday afternoon.

The information of fleeing Myanmar and entering Bangladesh by 14 members of the country’s border guard force amid clashes with the insurgent group, Arakan Army, across the Naikhongchhari border in Bandarban was reported first. The number later reportedly increased to 58.

Their weapons and ammunition are in the custody of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). The BGB, however, said in the evening that 39 members of Myanmar’s border guard force had entered Bangladesh.

Responding to questions from newspersons at the secretariat in the afternoon, the home minister revealed the information of conflict between the insurgent group Arakan Army and the army inside Myanmar.

He said that 14 members of Myanmar’s BGP entered Bangladesh for self-defence and asked for help. The BGB has stored their weapons in one place and through the foreign ministry, Myanmar is being contacted so that they could take their soldiers away. Roughly this is the incident.

The newspersons asked him what is the magnitude of threat for Bangladesh right now or what measures are being taken?

In response, Asaduzzaman Khan said, “Look, we don’t want to get involved in any war. We don’t want war. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always gives us that direction. That does not mean we won’t take action when anyone would say something. We are always ready. We have enhanced the strength of BGB there (at the border). We have also instructed the police and coast guard in this regard so that no one can infiltrate into our borders in any way. We are very careful about that. We do not know how long the war will last in Myanmar. We will not allow anyone to cross our border. We have instructed the BGB in this regard.”

In response to another question, the home minister said, “They have entered here to defend themselves. This could happen. Don’t you remember, we entered India during the liberation war? Not one, but millions of people went there. They entered here to defend themselves, not for war.”

In response to another question, Asaduzzaman Khan said, “If the BGP members, who are stationed near the border, enter into the country for self-defence, we cannot do anything. We have to send them back. We have detained them (the BGP members), and will send them back.”

Responding to a question about the infiltration of Rohingyas, the minister said, “We have made a decision, a war is going on at the border, no one should come here now. We won’t allow anyone else to enter at this moment.”