14 border guards of Myanmar flee and take shelter in Bangladesh

Ghundhum border in Bandarban’s NaikhongchhariFile photo

Fourteen members of the Border Guard Police (BGP) from Myanmar have fled and taken refuge in Bangladesh, amid clashes with the insurgent Arakan Army on the other side of the border in Naikhongchari of Bandarban. 

A Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) source confirmed the development to Prothom Alo on Sunday, saying that the BGP men surrendered their arms and ammunition to the BGB.

The BGB Battalion-38 is expected to hold a press briefing in this regard sometime later.  

The firings, which commenced on Saturday night, continued on the Myanmar side of Ghumdhum border until the filing of this report around 12:00 pm on Sunday.

A man in Tumbru sustained injuries in gunshots from the Myanmar side, while a house in Bainshphandi caught fire in shelling.  

Some public representatives of Naikhongchhari said BGP’s Tumbru Right outpost and Dhekibunia outpost are located in the area from where the gunshots are heard. Apart from these two outposts, all the remaining posts of BGP in the border area of about 48 km have been taken over by the Arakan Army. The rebel group is now fighting with the frontier force to take control of the remaining two camps.

A school teacher from the Tumbru area said an intense fight began on the other side of the border around 3:00 am on Sunday. More than a hundred families took shelter at their suitable places.

Md Anwar, a member of Ghumdhum union parishad, said firing began on Saturday afternoon and continued until 4:00 pm. It resumed later around 3:00 am on Sunday. A shell fired from Myanmar hit the residence of Nurul Kabir along the Bainshphandi border and burnt it. Later, the firefighters rushed to the spot and doused the blaze.

Tri Ratan Chakma, primary education officer of Naikhongchhari upazila, said all teachers and students of the bordering areas are in safe shelters, but in panic. The schools have already been shut.

Deputy Commissioner Shah Mojahid Uddin said there has been an environment of fear along the Ghumdhum border due to firing. However, the situation is under control. The highway adjacent to the border has been closed and the locals have been alerted.

Regarding the shelter of the BGP men, he said they heard of the issue, but were not sure about it.