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13 August, 2017 12:25:29 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 August, 2017 10:18:16 AM
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Dhaka monitoring situation ‘closely’

BGB increases vigilance, patrolling
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
Dhaka monitoring situation ‘closely’
File Photo

Dhaka is closely monitoring the development in Myanmar’s Rakhine, a Rohingya-majority state bordering Bangladesh, where military personnel were deployed ‘to beef up’ security following the killing of seven Buddhists near the town of Maungdaw earlier this month. Although the military deployment is being attributed to the enhancement of security, it is feared that an offensive is on the cards against ‘the militants responsible for the killing’.

The Muslim-majority northern Rakhine state experienced terrible violence orchestrated by the Myanmar military force in October last year after the killing of nine border police men. The Myanmar security forces conducted a brutal counteroffensive allegedly killing, raping and torturing the Rohingya Muslims, who are often described as the most persecuted community in the world.

The Myanmar atrocities forced about 75,000 Rohingyas to cross into Bangladesh to add to already 3-5 lakh living in the country for decades.

On the heels of the military deployment, Bangladesh has also taken preparations to face any spill-over effects of any military offensive in Rakhine like the last year, according to officials concerned.

“We are following the situation on the other side of the border. And, we are cautious,” Brig Gen Abul Hasnat Khairul

Bashar, additional director general (operations and training) of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), told The Independent yesterday.

“Our embassy in Yangon keeps us informed from time to time about the evolving situation. We are keeping an eye on the development,” a senior diplomat said.

“Like the United Nations, we do hope that good sense will prevail and nothing like last October will happen this time,” he said, adding, “Diplomatically we will do the needful.”

The UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, expressed alarm on Friday over reports that an army battalion has flown into Rakhine state in western Myanmar to help local authorities boost security in the region.

“This development, which reportedly took place yesterday (Thursday)), is a cause for major concern,” she said.

“The Government must ensure that security forces exercise restraint in all circumstances and respect human rights in addressing the security situation in Rakhine state,” she added.

“I am particularly reminded of the allegations of serious human rights violations which followed security force operations in the aftermath of attacks against three border guard police facilities in Maungdaw and Rathedaung in October and further clashes in November,” said Lee.

“There have been increasing reports of incidents affecting the local population, including the killings of six Mro villagers on 3 August,” she said, adding, “I share the concern of the Myanmar Government and its people regarding the safety and security of those living in Rakhine state in the light of these incidents.”

The special rapporteur acknowledged the state’s responsibility to provide security and protect people from attacks by extremists, but said this responsibility had to cover all residents, and the authorities could not afford more security to some than others.

“Having been informed of the military build-up on the other side of the border, we have deployed increased manpower along the border so that we do not have another influx of Rohingyas,” said a senior BGB official, without going into further details.

“We have also increased patrolling and guarding the spots of the border which may be used by people to enter the country,” he said.

The official, however, admitted that due to the porous nature of the border it is not ‘possible’ to guarantee hundred per cent success in this regard.  

Out of the 271 kilometres of border Bangladesh shares with Myanmar, 84 kilometres could not be completely protected due to the porous geographical nature, but efforts are on to address the nature, he said. “Vigilance is much increased in these areas.”

To a question, the senior official said that the BGB is in touch with their Myanmar counterpart regarding the issues relating to border management.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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