• Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:31 pm

Myanmar: Terrorist groups might have planted IEDs in border areas

  • Published at 05:47 pm January 8th, 2020
BGB MGP Joint Meeting
Photo shows high ranked officials of Border Guard Bangladesh and Border Guard Police at a meeting at the BGB headquarters in Dhaka on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

The five-day long high-level conference between BGB and Myanmar Police Force (MPF) began on Sunday and is expected to end today following the signing of a Joint Record of Discussions (JRD)

Myanmar's Border Guard Police (BGP) has said it had not planted any Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) or mines along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The BGP, a department of Myanmar Police Force (MPF) specializing in border security, said at a press conference at the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters in Dhaka on Wednesday. 

The five-day long high-level conference between BGB and Myanmar Police Force (MPF) began on Sunday and is expected to end on Thursday following the signing of a Joint Record of Discussions (JRD).

Addressing the press event, Myanmar Police Force (MPF) Brig Gen Myo Than said: "There are a number of insurgent groups along the shared border. Border Guard Police (BGP) did not place any IEDs (improvised explosive device) on the border.

"Under such circumstances, if there were any IEDs being found on the border, that would definitely be a plot carried out by terrorist groups. Therefore, those reported IED devices don’t belong to BGP."

About IEDs, the BGB Director General, Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam. said, the BGB was unable to identify those responsible for planting the IEDs. He noted, though, that there could be fatal results “when we start erecting a barbed wire fence along the Bangladesh border.”

He said: "We will construct a road along the border, and so it will require a removal of those IEDs. The Myanmar delegation have agreed to cooperate with us when we undertake clearing operations of the IEDs along the border."

Both sides agreed not to breach the inviolability of the 150 feet (50 meter) on each side of the boundary line by any means without prior approval of each other, Gen Shafeenul added. 

According to reports, some Rohingya refugees are allegedly involved in yaba trade, crime, arms smuggling, etc.

Addressing the issue, the BGB DG said: "These forcibly displaced people from Myanmar are in fact vulnerable to extremism and other illicit activities. We did highlight this issue over and again. And the Myanmar delegation agreed that this has been the reality, that the sooner they go back, the better for their own well-being. Their protracted presence will continue to affect security aspects along the border and the bordering states."

About yaba smuggling into Bangladesh, Maj Gen Md Shafeenul said: "Over the past one year or so, incidents of yaba trade and trafficking - entering Bangladesh territory through Myanmar border and by way of the Naf river, has been marked by a significant drop." 

Claiming that both sides had strengthened their border protection, he said the Myanmar authorities “have re-assured us that they will further strengthen and deploy additional resources to thwart drug trafficking, including yaba trade.”

Questioned about the increasing unrest in the border areas, the BGB chief said: "There are insurgent groups from both the countries. We (BGB and BGP) have agreed to increase reinforcements along our borders and increase vigilance, in an effort to prevent  their insurgents and our miscreants from finding safe havens or refuge for illicit activities.”

He also said a proposal for Bangladesh-Myanmar border barbed wire fencing has been sent to the Ministry of Home.

The five-day long high-level conference is led by Brig Gen Myoe Than with 08 member Myanmar delegation. The 14-member Bangladesh delegation, comprised of senior officials from BGB, PMO, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Drug Narcotics Control of Bangladesh, was led by Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam.

The issues discussed in the conference

The BGB emphasized sharing real time information and frequent interactions at various levels to stop human trafficking, illegal border crossing and drug trafficking.

The BGB sought increased cooperation from the MPF and requested assistance in removing IEDs from the bordering areas.

Myanmar agreed to cooperate with Bangladesh in preventing illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, especially yaba trafficking, along the border lines/areas. The Myanmar side will continue to take anti-narcotics drug measures in accordance with its national drug control policy.

Both sides agreed to inform each other of incidents of firing/shooting (if any), to return the nationals of both countries in case of Natural Calamity/Inadvertent Crossing of Border Line/Completion of Jail Terms in Bangladesh or Myanmar through bilaterally agreed procedures in line with practice in the respective countries.

Besides, the forces will share real time information to bring about an amicable solution to border related problems as they occur and will carry out joint patrolling along the border to strengthen security and law and order.

The parties agreed to hold the next Senior Level Border Conference between BGB and MPF in Myanmar in May/June 2020 or through mutual cooperation, if and when necessary.