Explosions, gunfire in Myanmar spark fear near Teknaf border

DhakaTribune || Shining BD

Published: 5/14/2024 7:05:37 AM

In the ongoing conflict between Myanmar's security forces and the separatist Arakan Army in Rakhine state, the Teknaf border area of Cox's Bazar is once again filled with the sound of mortar shells and heavy gunfire.

Gunfire resumed after two days from across the border on Monday morning, leaving residents of the border area on edge.

Throughout Monday, the border region experienced heightened anxiety as the sound of mortar shells reverberated from the Myanmar side, instilling fear among the people.

Nazrul Islam, a resident of Jaliapara in Teknaf municipality near the border, said: "For the past two days, there hasn't been any gunfire heard from Rakhine state. However, since this (Monday) morning, we've been hearing intense gunfire from the opposite side. This has instilled fear among the border residents, especially women and children."

Moniruzzaman, councillor of South Jaliapara in Teknaf municipality, noted that after a brief cessation, the resumption of loud border gunfire has been reported. He said: "I learned about the gunfire across the border from local residents. The frequent heavy shelling along the border has become a daily occurrence, heightening anxiety among the populace."

Border residents said that from Damdamiya of Teknaf upazila to Shahpari Island border area, intermittent sounds of gunfire from Myanmar have been heard since Monday morning until evening, causing fear among the local populace.

Abdul Gafur, a resident of Sabrang on the border, said: "Since dawn, there has been heavy gunfire heard from across the Naf River. Border area residents are gripped with panic."

Meanwhile, the country's armed forces are engaged in intense combat with the Arakan Army, a pro-independence group from Myanmar. Members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and the Coast Guard have intensified their patrols day and night along the 54km stretch of the Naf River from Whykong to Shahpari Island in Teknaf upazila.

Teknaf Battalion (BGB-2) Captain Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed said: "The conflict in Rakhine is an internal matter of Myanmar. However, we are maintaining a strict border stance to prevent infiltration. Moreover, the ongoing conflict on the other side increases the risk of Rohingya infiltration, so the BGB is on high alert."

Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mohammad Adnan Chowdhury said: "In addition to preventing border infiltration, our law enforcement agencies are fully prepared to handle any situation."

Shining BD