33, including two Myanmar border guards, wash up on Saint Martin’s Island

TEKNAF CORRESPONDENT

Thirty-three people, including two members of Myanmar’s Border Guard, were stranded on Saint Martin’s Island after their trawler’s engine failed, officials said on Friday.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Coast Guard personnel took the group into custody and housed them at a hotel on the island’s northern beach, said Mujibur Rahman, chairman of Saint Martin’s Union Parishad.

“The trawler carrying Myanmar citizens docked on the northern side of Saint Martin’s beach at 2:45 AM on Thursday night,” Rahman said. “BGB and Coast Guard members took them into custody and accommodated them at a hotel named Dimas Paradise.”

Multiple calls to Lieutenant Colonel Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed, commander of the Teknaf 2 BGB Battalion, were not answered, and text messages also went unanswered.

Local residents reported fierce fighting between the rebel Arakan Army and Myanmar’s military in Rakhine State. After five days of calm, explosions were heard again starting Wednesday night. It is suspected that the Myanmar citizens, including the two BGP members, were fleeing for safety when their trawler’s engine failed, causing them to drift to Saint Martin’s Island amid a storm. Rough seas prevented a pushback, and they remain under BGB and Coast Guard supervision.

A BGB official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the group included two BGP members and 31 Rohingya men, women, and children. “We are awaiting instructions from higher authorities,” the official said. The group comprises 10 men, 10 women, and 11 children, with the BGP members being a captain and a sergeant.

According to BGB sources, the group left Maungdaw Township in Rakhine State on Thursday evening, heading toward a ship anchored at sea. The trawler’s propeller got entangled in a fishing net, causing the engine to fail. Heavy rain and storms then caused the trawler to drift to the northern beach of Saint Martin’s Island.

Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md. Adnan Chowdhury said he had not been officially informed by BGB or the Coast Guard but learned about the incident from local representatives. He has notified the relevant authorities.

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