44 more border guards of Myanmar take shelter in Bangladesh

Members of Border Guard Police (BGP) took shelter in Bangladesh on 4 February

Forty four more 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. The BGP members, including injured ones, took shelter in Bangladesh at around 2:30 pm.

With these, a total of 58 BGP members have taken shelter in Bangladesh in the wake of intense fighting in their own country.  Their arms and ammunition are in possession of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

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Bandarban’s deputy commissioner Shah Mojahid Uddin said firing has stopped at Tumbru right border outpost in Myanmar. Some BGP members from that camp have taken shelter in Bangladesh. He added that the number of the BGP members might be around 40.

Fatema Begum, a councillor of Ghumdhum union, said a total of 66 BGP members who fled from Tumbru right camp have been sheltered in Bangladesh’s Tumbru government primary school. The injured members of the BGP are being treated here.

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The BGB 34 battalion was supposed to hold a press conference on the border situation this afternoon which was later postponed.

People from border areas said fierce fighting took place on the Myanmar side of Tumbru border from the wee hours on Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. The fighting subsided as Myanmar army attacked Arakan Army’s camp by helicopters at around 12 at noon.

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BGB did not give any official statement about sheltering Myanmar’s BGP members or firing on the other side of the border.

Bandarban’s deputy commissioner (DC) Shah Mojahid Uddin said BGB and police remain on alert on the border.

Residents of Tumbru border area and primary school teachers Nurul Karim and  Syedur Rahman said they moved away for safer places as intense firing started in Myanmar. Hundreds of families at Tumbru, Konarpara, Bhajabonia and Baishfari border areas have moved to safer places as panic gripped the areas.

A house at Baishfari caught fire last night as a shell fell from Myanmar. A person, Prabir Chandra Dhar, was injured at Tumbru Camp para area at around 10:30 am as he was hit by a bullet from Myanmar.

DC Shah Mojahid said local people's representatives and upazila administration have been instructed to shift the people of the border areas to safer places due to security issues. Five primary schools and a madrasah were shut.

Several public representatives of Naikhongchari said the armed group Arakan Army has taken control of all border outposts except Dhekibunia and Tumbru Right near the zero line. The rebel group is trying to take control of these outposts too.

Sources said Arakan Army has been laying siege to Dhekibonia, Trmbru right and Tumbru left camps of BGP. While charged by the insurgents, BGP members do not have much option to retreat to Maungdaw, the nearby district town. This leaves them with the option to flee to Bangladesh.