Gunshots again heard at Ukhia border, Ghumdhum remains calm

Barbed Wire Fencing along Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Ghumdhum, Naikhongchhari. The photo was taken from Ghumdhum's Paschimkul area at around 10:00 am on 8 February in 2024Prothom Alo

Gunshots were heard again from across the border of Rahmater Bil in Palangkhali union of Ukhia upazila in Cox’s Bazar for three hours from around 11:00 pm on Wednesday to 2:00 am Thursday.

People in the Bangladesh territory were gripped by fear anew as sounds of firing mortar shells were heard from Myanmar.

However, the Tumbru-Ghumdhum border in Naikhongchhari upazila of Bandarban district remained calm.

An armed conflict between the Myanamr’s Border Guard Police (BGP) and rebel Arakan Army (AA) broke out on Friday night. The AA members reportedly have already taken control of Tumbru right camp and Dhekibunia border post from the BGP.

The conflict killed two in Bangladesh territory, one of them is a Bangladeshi woman and another a Rohingya person, in a mortar round fired from Myanmar.

A total of 328 members of Myanmar’s BGP, army, navy, customs officials and other agencies took shelter in Bangladesh fleeing the country due to the onslaught of the Arakan Army as of Tuesday evening.

Local people said the situation somewhat calmed from Tuesday evening. Though there were sounds of sporadic gunshots, there was no sound of heavy shelling. But fear gripped the people anew on as sounds of gunshots and mortar shelling was heard Wednesday night.

Gias Uddin, 65, from Rahmater Bil in Palangkhali said people were in relief for nearly 24 hours but they woke up from sleep at the sound of gunshots at night. Some were trying to shift at that time but no gunshot was heard after around 2:00 pm.

Meanwhile, the people from bordering areas think the exchange of fire on Wednesday night was not between the Arakan Army and BGP. Rather, the fight was between separatist Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and armed terrorist Arakan Rohingya Army (ARA) of Nabi Hossain from Maungdaw in Myanmar.

The Rohingya Solidarity Organisation and Arakan Rohingya Army have locked into conflict anew over taking sides of Arakan Army.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Palangkhali union parishad chairman M Gafur Uddin said they heard firing of 2-3 mortar rounds between 10:00 pm Wednesday and 12:00 am Thursday but those were far from the Bangladesh border areas. Despite this fear has gripped the local people.

It seems the fight between the Arakan Army and BGP has ended at the Palangkhali border, he stated.

* The report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza