As many as five fighter jets of Myanmar security forces were seen circling in the sky along Naikhongchhari border in Bandarban on Saturday, with locals and public representatives claiming that these warcrafts entered Bangladesh territory and fired shells.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Naikhongchhari union parishad (UP) chairman AKM Jahagir Aziz said the Kha Maung Seik area of Myanmar is 1.5 to 2 kilometres away from Tumbru bazar border in Naikhongchhari’s Ghumdhum area.
Myanmar military has been fighting a fierce battle with pro-independent Arakan Army (AA) in this area for 23 days and the former intensified their attack today, Saturday. The Myanmar military had fired bullets and mortar shells as well as hurled bombs from helicopter in the forest near the border pillar no. 40 from 9:15am to 12:00pm, he added.
Jahagir Aziz further said there is not that much inhabitation of people where shells and mortars landed but there are over 20 rubber gardens owned by Bangladeshis and workers fled the gardens panicked by firings, and took shelter in Tombru bazar. No one is being allowed to go to border area.
Besides, panic spread among people of Ghundhum area, and also over 4,000 Rohingyas living in refugee camps in zero line because of rising intensity of battle, he added.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Golam Mawla, 45, who worked at a rubber garden near border pillar no. 40, said two mortar shells fell on the their garden around 9:00pm. At that time, two helicopters are circling and firing from the sky. Hundreds of shells and mortars were fired from two helicopters until 12:00pm and workers fled the area and took shelters on Tumbru bazar.
Myanmar military and Arakan Army have been fighting in the country’s Kha Maung Seik hill, some 1.5 kilometre north of Tombru bazar. Along with scenes of firing, helicopters and fighter jets were seen flying on the Myanmar side from Tombru bazar.
The territory between Konarpara of Tombru bazar and Kha Maung Seik hill is a no mans’ land and more than 4,200 people of 621 Rohingya families have been living there for five years after they were driven out from Rakhaine and they are frightened over the ground battle as well shells, mortar and bombs fired from the sky.
According to several sources of police and Border Guard Bangladesh, two mortar shells from the Myanmar side of the border landed in Bangladesh territory. No causality was reported since these shells did not go off and army personnel diffused those later.
That day, Dhaka summoned Ambassador U Aung Kyaw Moe in the afternoon and issued a note verbale in protest, yet several shells and mortars fired from Myanmar also fell on Bangladesh territory for the third time today, Saturday.
There are Rohingya camps on zero line at the foot of Kha Mong Seik hill. Dill Mohammad is chairman of the managing committee of the camp. He is from Medi Para of Rakhain state and had been in Myanmar’s Border Guard Police for 10 years.
Dill Mohammad said hundreds of bullets and mortar shells were fired from three new helicopters on Saturday morning and the Myanmar army hit the target of Arakan Amry from helicopter around 12pm. On the other hand, shot were fired at helicopters from the land as well as artillery and mortar shells are being used in ground battle. Fire is burning trees on the hill. Panic is spreading among Rohingyas and they can’t sleep for 22 days and have nowhere to flee from this refugee camp, Dill Mohammad lamented.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Ghumdhum police investigation check post in-charge inspector Sohag rana told Prothom Alo a fierce battle is going on in Myanmar, with helicopters and fighter jets circling in the sky. Firing is being heard for this side of the border, but it has not been possible to learn that who are firing the shots. Two mortar shells fell on Bangladesh territory today, Saturday and previously, two mortar shells landed near Tombru bazar on 28 August.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, trader Abu Bakkar from Tumbru Bazar said the market is becoming empty as the battle is getting intensified day by day. Attendance of student getting thinner at schools, madrasha and maktobs, and people are not leaving homes out of fear.