Alarm along border as bullets from Myanmar land in Bangladesh
Bullets from Myanmar landed in Bangladesh early on Saturday, sparking alarm along the border amid ongoing clashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, officials and local residents said.
The incident occurred near a mosque in Whykong’s Majher Para, Teknaf, in Cox’s Bazar, without resulting in any casualties but raising fears of an escalation.
Myanmar’s Rakhine State has been a battleground for intense fighting between the Arakan Army, an insurgent group, and Myanmar’s military, with the violence spilling over into Bangladesh.
Reports of continuous gunfire and mortar shelling from the Kumir Khali border outpost in Myanmar were noted as early as Saturday morning, shaking the border area on the Bangladeshi side and leading to concerns over the safety of residents.
“The situation has caused heightened anxiety and concern among the people living close to the border,” said a local official, who preferred to remain anonymous.
At around 5 am on Saturday, the conflict nearly hit home for Haji Mohammad Absar, a resident of Whykong’s Majher Para, who was reciting the Quran after the Fajr prayer when two bullets struck his room, narrowly missing him.
Further instances of bullets hitting civilian areas were reported, including damage to Hoshen Ali’s grocery store in Whykong’s North Para and a nearby residential area. Sounds of gunfire continued to be heard, underscoring the ongoing tension and fear among the local population.
Sirajul Mostafa Lalu, the member of the 2nd ward of Whykong Union Parishad, highlighted the pervasive fear that has gripped residents, hindering their daily activities. “The sound of gunfire has effectively barred people from approaching the border for work,” Lalu stated.
The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) acknowledged hearing gunfire for about an hour on Myanmar’s Bilai Char Island, where a confrontation between the Nabi Hoshen group and a rebel faction was reported. The proximity of these groups to the Bangladesh border has complicated the security landscape.
Abu, the Company Commander at Whykong BOP, confirmed the incidents of gunfire and the landing of bullets on Bangladeshi soil, assuring that measures are underway to mitigate the situation.
“We are closely monitoring the developments and have taken necessary steps to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Abu said, adding that the situation is currently stable.