Bullets fired from Myanmar aiming speedboat

A boat carrying tourists on the Teknaf-St Martin’s naval route

Trawler and other vessel services on the Teknaf and St Martin’s sea lanes have been closed for the last six days due to several incidents of shooting aimed at the boats carrying people.

Amid this, another incident of firing of 10-12 rounds of bullets aiming at a speedboat with five passengers took place Tuesday morning. However, no casualty has been reported.

The shots were fired from a Myanmar trawler that entered the Bangladesh maritime boundary, when the speedboat reached the Golgara area in Badarmokam of Shah Porir Dwip on the Teknaf-St Martin’s naval route.

Khorshed Alam, speedboat owners’ association president and member of ward-3 of St Martin’s union parishad, confirmed this to Prothom Alo.

Local people said Badarmokam is just half a kilometre from Myanmar’s Naikhongdia point, where an unknown armed group has taken position. This group is not allowing operations of service trawlers and speedboats on the route.

The incident has created panic among the dwellers of the island and a food crisis is being created in the area due to this snapped communication.

Earlier on 5 June, bullets were fired from Myanmar aiming at a vessel that was bringing back some election officials from Saint Martin’s island. Another such incident took place on 8 June when bullets were fired on a goods laden trawler. No one was injured in the incidents.

Teknaf upazila nirbahi officer Md Adnan Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that the matter has been informed at all levels. The situation is critical. The dwellers of Saint Martin’s island will face a food crisis for this.

He said they were not sure whether the Myanmar border forces or any of the rebel groups were firing the bullets.

Saint Martin’s union parishad chairman Mujibur Rahman said as the movement of all types of vessels have been stopped, a crisis of daily essentials has appeared in the island.