BGB, Coast Guard Asked to Remain Alert with 'Reinforcement', If Needed

Acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam || Photo: Collected

Acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam || Photo: Collected

Acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam said they had a high-level meeting today (September 18, 2022) with all concerned and urged Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Bangladesh Coast Guard to remain on high alert with “reinforcement”, if required.

Khurshed Alam, also secretary at Maritime Affairs Unit (MAU) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Bangladesh is a “responsible and peace-loving” country and they are “observing and tolerating” the situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border with much patience.

Talking to reporters at the ministry, he said they are in touch with all relevant agencies and the government remains alert so that no Myanmar national can enter Bangladesh.

Earlier in the morning, the Ministry of Foreign Affais summoned the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe for the fourth time and lodged a strong protest over the recent incidents along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The ambassador was summoned at the office of Md. Najmul Huda, Director General (South East Asia wing) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Khurshed Alam said Bangladesh conveyed to the ambassador that what’s happening in Myanmar is their internal issue and they need to think how they will solve it.

He said Bangladesh has told the ambassador to take steps to prevent repetition of such incidents – death and injuries – inside Bangladesh.

The acting foreign secretary said the Myanmar envoy listened to the Bangladesh side and assured that he would report to the headquarters.

The acting foreign secretary hoped that there will be a solution if Bangladesh remains strong. Bangladesh is not demonstrating any weakness, rather it is conveying its message to Myanmar from a very strong position, he added.

Asked who will take responsibility of the recent death, the acting foreign secretary said they cannot say exactly who had fired the bullet, though the bullet has “Myanmar army” written on it.

He said the Myanmar side was saying these bullets had been stolen by the Arakan Army and they are using these bullets to create "distance" between Bangladesh and Myanmar. “In such a situation, it is difficult to determine who will take the responsibility.”

Khurshed Alam said Bangladesh has asked Myanmar to take steps for stopping the spill-over of Myanmar’s internal conflict into Bangladesh. 

Earlier, Dhaka reiterated its “deep concern” over the recent incidents of Myanmar’s mortar shelling, indiscriminate aerial firing in the bordering areas, and air space violations.

On Saturday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the government is trying to resolve the issues with Myanmar peacefully and diplomatically but a complaint will be lodged to the United Nations regarding mortar shelling at the border if necessary.

He said the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry has warned them (Myanmar) several times but they didn’t keep their promise. “We have lodged a strong protest over casualties from Friday’s mortar shelling by Myanmar at Tombru border,” he added.

On Friday night, a 17-year-old-Rohingya boy named Mohammad Iqbal was killed and five others were injured as a mortar shell fired by the Myanmar army exploded at the Zero Point Rohingya Camp close to the international border in Tombru, Bandarban.

The deceased and injured were all residents of the Zero Point Rohingya Camp, known as the camp that is closest to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in No Man's Land.

Four mortar shells landed in succession at the Rohingya camp around 8pm.

Earlier, an indigenous youth named Anganthowai Tanchangya was grievously injured in a landmine explosion along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Naikhongchhari upazila of Bandarban on Friday noon. Locals said it is the Myanmar army that has mined the area. Twelve mortar shells have been fired by the Myanmar army on Bangladesh territory so far.

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