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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

BORDER TENSIONS

Rohingyas on no-man’s land plead for UN protection

They called for urgent protection and arrangements for dignified return

Update : 20 Sep 2022, 12:19 AM

Around 4,500 Rohingyas sheltering on the no-man’s land between Bangladesh and Myanmar have appealed to the United Nations (UN) for protection from shelling by the Myanmar army.

“We (Rohingyas) are genocide survivors and have been taking refuge at the no-man’s land (zero line) of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border since 2017 to escape the Myanmar army’s mass atrocities,” reads the statement sent to the UN headquarters in New York.

“On September 16, around 8pm, the Burmese genocidal army randomly fired mortar shells intentionally on our camp for displaced people on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. As a result, a boy named Mohammad Ekbal, 17, was killed and five others were critically injured,” it added.

The statement further said the residents of the Rohingya camp were frequently threatened by gunshots and heavy shelling from the Taung Pyo right camp of the Myanmar army on the pretext of clashes with the Arakan Army.

It concluded with an urgent call to the UN for protection and arrangements for the dignified return of the Rohingyas to their land of origin in Rakhine. 

Bandarban DC assures quick measures

The local administration will take immediate measures to ensure the safety of families living near the no-man’s land in Ghumdhum along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Bandarban Deputy Commissioner (DC) Yasmin Parveen Tibriji said yesterday.

Inspecting the situation on the ground, she said that the moment the administration locates a risk along the border, it will not waste any time and take necessary steps.

“We will look into possible security threats along the border to make sure our people are safe,” she said.

While talking about the solution to the ongoing tension along the border, she said that development may not come overnight. It is a continuous process.

Later, the DC inspected some educational institutions in the area and spoke to local representatives.

Following the tension along the border, Ghumdhum High School center for the SSC examinations was shifted to Kutupalong High School in Ukhiya upazila, from where 499 candidates took part in the examination on Saturday. 

On the issue, the DC said the examinees will continue sitting for the exams at Kutupalong High School until the situation improves in Ghumdhum. She also spoke to some of the examinees there. 

The DC assured the local people that the administration is well aware of the risks they are currently living under and that the authorities are making preparations to ensure their safety.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Tariqul Islam said that they are currently focusing on ensuring safety for the people living near the border. 

“The overall security in the border area has been strengthened, and intelligence surveillance has also been increased,” he added.

Meanwhile, Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Shamsud Douza told UNB that there is no scope for the commissioner to do anything for the people or groups at the zero point of the border. Many are cooperating locally and international organizations working along the border are engaged in providing emergency services.

“If the Rohingyas take shelter outside the zero point and in various camps in Ukhiya of Teknaf upazila, it is possible to cooperate with them in various ways,” he added.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) summoned the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh for the fourth time since August and lodged a strong protest against the incidents of shelling from Myanmar.

Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe “acknowledged” the firing of multiple mortar shells into Bangladesh territory, but tried to deflect blame by asserting that the insurgents the Myanmar state is engaged in fighting were firing heavy artillery and mortar, some of which landed inside Bangladesh territory.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also handed over a protest note to the ambassador, MoFA said.

On Friday night, a 17-year-old-Rohingya boy named Mohammad Iqbal was killed and five others were injured when 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 closest to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

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 on Friday noon. Locals said the Myanmar army has planted mines in the area.

Twelve mortar shells have been fired by the Myanmar army into Bangladesh territory so far.

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