Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Army Chief Lt Gen Abdul Mubin yesterday paid a surprise visit to the tense Alikadam area of the hill tract district, close to the Burma border, to see the latest border situation at about 3pm. He talked to army officers in the border area, hill tract sources said.

Bangladesh has boosted military build-up on its border even as Burma deployed troops on their side and resorted to various provocative acts, creating tension.

Bangladesh has already sent three army brigades to its hilly border with Burma and has as stand by another brigade following the provocative moves by the latter, highly placed sources in the government said.

“A warship is accompanying a frigate,” the Army Chief said. A Chittagong based naval officer said a frigate of the Bangladesh Navy BNS Abu Bakar is now patrolling the sea near the disputed area where Myanmar had tried to explore for gas last November.

Intelligence officials said Bangladesh armed forces are into special exercises to handle any eventuality if all diplomatic channels to resolve the conflict are exhausted.

A Foreign Ministry official, however, said Bangladesh believes that all crises with its neighbours could be solved through diplomatic means. "But that does not mean that we will remain idle if the country's territorial sovereignty is at stake,” BDR Director General (DG) Major General Mainul Islam said.

The DG of the country's border forces said, "This is an abnormal situation. No country generally deploys its armed forces on the border. We don't like the erection of barbed-wire fences by the engineering corps of the Burmese Army.”

Unconfirmed information from border sources said, Nasaka, the Burmese border security force, has assembled about 10,000 Rohingyas near its border with Bangladesh in a bid to push them into the Bangladesh territory as part of their latest provocative move.

On other hand, Foreign Affairs Minister Dipu Moni on October 11 rejected media reports on Burma’s sudden reinforcement of troops along the border, terming such mobilisation of border guards as a “routine movement”. But, The BNP’s Secretary-General, Khandakar Delwar Hossain, yesterday slammed Foreign Minister Dipu Moni’s statement on border troops build up by Burma. “They have nothing to be worried about and will not worry even if the country is occupied by foreigners. The role of the government is disquieting for the people who are concerned about the country’s security,” he said.

According to different sources on the border, Burma has deployed five military battalions. They were deployed on October 2, along the border from Maungdaw to Paletwa. They are: Light Battalions 55 and 34, and Light Infantry Battalions (LIBs) 226,223,224,554 and 374.

Battalion 55 is from Thandwe and  34 is based in Kyaukpru which is now under the control of  the Military Operation Command (MOC) 9 and it is now adding troops from  LIBs 226, 223 and 224 which is mainly stationed  in Buthidaung of the Tactical Operation Command (TOC). The LIBs 554 and 374 are from Paletwa to Maungdaw under the control of MOC 15.

Locals in the border area said they are afraid of war and are wary of landmines being laid by Burmese troops near the border fence area which will kill and maim local people and cattle passing by.

Unconfirmed reports from Burma said, electric current will be passed through the barbed wire fence along Bangladesh’s border after the project is finished.