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Tension eases at Tambru as troops withdrawn

  • Published at 02:48 am March 5th, 2018
Tension eases at Tambru as troops withdrawn
The situation at Tambru border point between Bangladesh and Myanmar started to return to normal as Myanmar began withdrawing troops from the area where thousands of displaced Rohingya people have taken shelter to escape violence in strife-torn Rakhine. Over a hundred members of Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) took positions near barbed-wire fences on the border on Sunday morning, and on Saturday, 80 to 90 BGP members were deployed there. They were, however, pulled back on Sunday around midday, according to the Rohingya people stranded in the no man’s land. Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Lt Col Monzurual Hassan Khan, commanding officer of Bangladesh Border Guard 34 battalion, said:  “The situation is now normal and stable. No additional troops moved in on Sunday.” In a sudden move on Thursday, the Myanmar authorities heightened their military presence close to the no man’s land between Bangladesh’s Konarpara and Myanmar’s Tambru, sparking fears among the Rohingya people stranded there and escalating tensions between the two neighbours. Ten trucks loaded with heavy arms and ammunition were also dispatched on the Tambru side of the border strip on that day. Using ladders, members of the Myanmar security forces tried to cross a barbed-wire fence in the no man’s land at 7:40pm, but they retreated as the aggrieved Rohingya began hurling brickbats. In the evening, the army personnel fired multiple rounds. The Myanmarese security forces previously claimed the increased presence and firing were meant to “protect their territory” and should not be viewed as an act of aggression against Bangladesh. The assurances were given at a flag meeting between BGB and BGP at a BGB camp under Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari upazila on Friday afternoon. BGB members, too, took positions along the border to prevent any possible untoward situations. In the past, there was no CCTV camera at the border point, but BGB installed three cameras for surveillance as tensions between the two countries reached a boiling point on Thursday, Lt Col Monzurual said. Rocked and displaced, over 6,500 Rohingya people have taken shelter in the Tambru no man’s land since August 25 last year, when ethnic conflicts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state sparked the most rapid human exodus seen since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. More than 700,000 of the community have crossed into Bangladesh in terror of their lives over the past six months, joining about 400,000 others who were already living squalid, cramped camps in Cox’s Bazar. On November 23, Dhaka and Naypyidaw signed an agreement to begin repatriating the refugees in January this year, but this process has stalled over technical and ground-level complexities.