Fourteen soldiers of Myanmar’s paramilitary Border Guard Police (BGP) overnight took refuge in Bangladesh fleeing their posts amid reports of heavy gunfights between the government troops and the rebel resistance fighters in the junta-run country.
“The 14 members of their BGP fled their country. They are now in our custody,” an official of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) told reporters on Sunday at the southeastern Cox’s Bazar.
Another official, preferring anonymity, said the 14 BGP personnel crossed the border in predawn hours through the Ghumdhum border along with their weapons and sought refuge to their BGB counterparts in Cox’s Bazar.
A BGB spokesman in Dhaka, meanwhile, asked journalists to await a media briefing on the development later today.
Residents in several frontier Bangladesh villages moved to safety amid skirmishes between the government troops and the rebel Arakan Army when several mortar shells and bullets landed inside Bangladesh in the past several days though no casualty was reported.
“In two such latest incidents on Saturday night a bullet smashed the windshield of a battery-run three wheeler and a mortar shell hit a village house at Tombru area of Ghumdhum border but no one was wounded,” a member of the local union council, the lowest local government-tier, told reporters.
He said sounds of cross border gunfights on Saturday night and Sunday panicked residents in villages in the frontier.
Bangladesh ordered an intensified security vigil on its border with Myanmar amid skirmishes between the government troops and the rebel fighters while the insurgent Arakan Army is active in the bordering Rakhine region of the country.
Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar stretches 271.0 kilometres (168.4 miles), from the tri-point with India in the north, to the Bay of Bengal in the south.
Bangladesh played a critical role over a million Muslim minority Rohingyas who fled their home in Rakhine and took refuge in Bangladesh to evade persecution, particularly after a 2017 army crackdown but the current crisis visibly is little to do with the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh won praises for the handling of the world’s biggest refugee crisis while Dhaka repeatedly sought their repatriation to their homeland in Rakhine saying the Rohingyas were causing economic, social, security and environmental problems.
The issue is now the subject of a United Nations genocide investigation at the International Court of Justice.