Bullets cross over like rain into Uttarpara along Teknaf border for four hours

A bullet from the other side of the border hit the wall of Nurul Islam's shop at Uttarpara in Howaikang union of Teknaf, Cox's Bazar. He points to the bullet mark. 10 FebruaryJewel Shill

Uttarpara is located half a kilometre east of the Howaikang bazaar of Teknaf upazila along the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway. The Myanmar border, around 300 yards away, is visible from there. Bullets have been fired from Myanmar on the other side of the border into Uttarpara from Saturday morning. The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) border outpost is just 100 yards from where the bullets have fallen.

A visit to Uttarpara at around 10:30 Saturday morning found people gathered in groups there. Their faces were etched with alarm. They were saying that they woke to the sound of gunfire. From 5:00 in the morning till 9:00 am, the bullets came continuously "like rain" for four houses, while the people were in panic.

Even then, at around 10:00 am, the people were trembling in fear. The panic-stricken people said that the bullets had hit their shops, fish enclosures and homes. No one was injured, however. Many were preparing to leave home to stay with relatives.

The residents of Uttarpara are in panic. They say the bullets hit their shops, fish enclosures and homes
Prothom Alo

Resident of Uttarpara, Nur Hossain, told Prothom Alo that his sleep was broken by the sound of bullet shots. Then bullets began to come over like incessant rain. He was unsure of what to do. He was preparing to move away from there with his family.

Firing began along the Howaikang border area from Wednesday night. The people of the area heard the gunfire from Thursday and yesterday Friday too. But at 5:00 this morning, the people panicked when the bullets crossed over the border continuously.

Howaikang union resident Khurshida Begum was clearly traumatised. She told this correspondent that her hands and feet were shaking. She had thought they would surely die today! She can hardly believe they are still alive!

Speaking to Prothom Alo today, Saturday, grocer Nurul Islam said that a bullet hit the back wall of his shop. The bullet couldn't enter the shop as the wall of was concrete. People from the administration later took away the bullet. He is in fear of the firing starting up again.

Local resident Mohammad Ilias owns a fish enclosure. He told Prothom Alo today, Saturday, that he saw a bullet hit his fish enclosure in the morning. And many bullets hit the fish enclosure next to his, belonging to Mohammad Manik.

I heard the bullets like rain and came out of the house. Bullets whizzed past me. It could have been my funeral today
Sirajul Mustafa, local union parishad (UP) member

From the night of 2 February, clashes have been continuing on the other side of the Naikhanchhari border, between the rebel Arakan Army and the Myanmar Border Guard Police BGP. It has been learnt that the Arakan Army has chased out the BGP members and taken over the Tumbru Right Camp and the Dhekibania border outpost.

From the early hours of Sunday night, around 3:00am, there had been an intermittent exchange of gunfire and mortar shells between the two sides. The next day, Monday, a mortar shell from the other side of the border landed on a kitchen in Jalpaitali village of Ghumdhum union, Naikhangchhari, killing two. One of the killed persons was a Bangladeshi woman and the other a Rohingya man. In the meantime, around 300 persons from Myanmar, including Myanmar army personnel, members of the border guard police and customs officers, fled into Bangladesh. They are presently in BGB custody. Talks are on about sending them back by river or air.

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A local resident displays a bullet that came from across the border
Prothom Alo

Bullet falls a kilometre away too

The bullets have not been landing just in the areas along the border. At 7:00 Saturday morning a bullet entered the house of Mohammad Afsar through the window. The house is in Majherpara, a kilometre away from the border. Afsar told Prothom Alo that everyone was home at the time, but no one was hit.

Around 500 yards east of Afsar's house, another bullet entered through the window of the house of Dolu Miah. Local union parishad (UP) member Sirajul Mustafa told Prothom Alo, "I heard the bullets like rain and came out of the house. Bullets whizzed past me. It could have been my funeral today."

Sirajul Mustafa said that there was a border guard outpost at Uttarpara. He said that from Wednesday there had been gunfire, but  only at night, not in the day. But with firing beginning from Saturday morning and bullets hitting people's house, panic has spread.

However, after the incident, BGB members have stepped up patrol in the area and are on alert.­

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