Mortar shelling, gunfire in Myanmar rattle border people

Arakan ArmyReuters file photo

Residents in the bordering area of Hnila union in Teknaf are in fear as there have been sounds of sporadic mortar shelling and gunfire on the other side of Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The firings were heard along the Laldiya bordering area between Damdamiya and Jadimora villages in the early hours of Wednesday, lasting from 3:00am to 8:30am. However, the situation was calm on the previous day, said Mohammad Ali, a member of Hnila Union Parishad (UP).

There have been firings between the Myanmar Army, Border Guard Police (BGP), and the rebel armed group Arakan Army (AA) since last year. Residents of the bordering areas are now habituated with it as they get panicked during the firings and return to regular life when these are over.

Lt Col Md Mohiuddin, commanding officer of BGB-02 in Teknaf, said sounds of mortar and gunshots were coming suddenly from the Myanmar side. “It is their internal issues. However, the BGB adopted a cautious stance along the Teknaf border so that no fresh infiltration of Rohingya takes place there.”

UP member Mohammad Ali said there were incidents of mortar shelling and gunfire on the other side of Laldiya border. He came to know through conversations with locals that nearly 28 mortars and over a thousand bullets were fired along the Myanmar border. It left the residents on the Bangladeshi side rattled and anxious.

Sharing the horrors, Faridul Alam, a resident of Damdamiya village, said that their homes were trembling intermittently in the early hours, due to mortar shelling.

Nurul Islam from Jadimora village said the locals are going through an extreme fear as they host a huge Rohingya population in the neighborhood hills. The Rohingya people are involved with different types of crimes, including murder, abduction, and smuggling, and the firings on the other side of the border exacerbated the situation.

Adnan Chowdhury, upazial nirbahi officer of Teknaf, said they are aware of the firings and have alerted the bordering people in this regard.