Myanmar conflict: Naf River jetty deserted, fishing halted in Bangladesh

DhakaTribune || Shining BD

Published: 5/9/2024 5:11:40 AM

Myanmar's army is fighting fiercely with the separatist organization Arakan Army in the Maungdaw Township of Rakhine State on the other side of the Teknaf border. 

Both sides have stepped up bomb and mortar shell attacks to maintain control of Maungdaw. 

Due to the escalation of the conflict, restrictions have been imposed on the movement of people at the Bangladesh-Myanmar transit jetty. 

Besides, fishing in Teknaf's Kayukkhali Ghat area has been banned, leading to a deserted Naf River jetty. 

Abul Kalam, general secretary of Teknaf Kayukkhali Boat Owners' Association, said fishing in the sea has been suspended due to the firing on the other side of the Naf River.

“Fishing had to be stopped for the time being as the situation on the border is tense. However, the fishermen of these terminals are living a difficult life now,” he said.

Imam Hossain, who collects tolls at the Naf River transit jetty, said: "The border has been tense for the last two days due to the ongoing war in Myanmar. For this reason, people are not being allowed to enter the jetty as before.”

Meanwhile, residents of Jaliyapara, Nazirpara, Moulvipara, Khonkarpara, Chowdhurypara, Jaliyapara and South Jaliapara of Shahpuree dwip in Teknaf experiencing heightened panic due to ongoing gunfire exchanges between the Arakan Army and Myanmar's government armed forces since Tuesday morning. 

They report an increase in the frequency of gunfire and mortar shell explosions compared to previous occurrences.

Shafiq Chowdhury, a labourer,  was seen sitting anxiously on the embankment of Jaliapara. 

He said: "There are loud sounds of ammunition on the border. Our house shook from the sound of shelling on the other side.”

Jalil Mia, another resident of the border area, said: "If we did not have Naf River on our border, the situation would have been very dire. We are far from Myanmar because of the river. Otherwise, the way the fight is continuing, casualties could not have been avoided on Bangladesh’s side. But now, we are very scared of the situation at the border.”

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) is in a strict position on the border to prevent infiltration, said Teknaf Battalion BGB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Md Mohiuddin Ahmed.

"The conflict in Rakhine is an internal matter of Myanmar. However, people have been forbidden to roam around the border and Naf River jetty without need. Especially due to the ongoing conflict on the other side, the BGB is in a strong position so that no new Myanmar nationals can enter Bangladesh,” he said.

Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md Adnan Chowdhury said border surveillance has been intensified due to the escalating conflict on the opposing side.

Shining BD