Arakan Army withholds body of Bangladeshi killed near border

NAIKHONGCHHARI CORRESPONDENT

A Bangladeshi youth was shot dead by the Arakan Army (AA) inside Myanmar near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, local officials confirmed.

The incident, which took place on Sunday morning around 8 AM at Arakan Ghat, about 1 kilometer from the zero line.

The victim, identified as 28-year-old Abul Kalam from Bamhatirchhara village in Naikhongchhari sub-district, is survived by his wife and two children.

According to the local union council chairman, Nurul Absar Emon, Kalam was returning from selling local products at Bendula Bazar when he was mistakenly identified as an informant for the rival insurgent group, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), and fatally shot.

As of late Sunday evening, the Arakan Army has yet to return Kalam’s body to his family, despite repeated promises. Family members were asked to wait near the border pillar 48 for the return of the body, which was postponed several times throughout the day. “They just kept delaying,” said Abu Taher – Kalam’s brother who, along with Kalam’s wife Arifa Moni, waited from morning till evening – told Parbatta News. “Eventually, they sent us back without his body.”

Arifa Moni described her husband as a hardworking laborer with no affiliations to any insurgent groups. “He was just a poor man working to support his family,” she said.

Eyewitnesses said that Abul Kalam, who was fatally shot by the Arakan Army, had traveled to Bendula Bazar in Myanmar from Bangladesh carrying a basket of chicken eggs and other goods. Upon his return, at a site known as Arakan Ghat, he and four others were detained by members of the Arakan Army.

According to an anonymous source speaking to Parbatta News, the insurgents had mistaken Kalam for an informant of the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a rival insurgent group. Without any dialogue, they summoned him closer and shot him in the forehead, causing him to collapse and die at the scene. His body was then covered with polythene throughout the day and later placed in a wooden box by evening.

Following the incident, sources said, all forms of transportation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border road were suspended. The Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) has intensified its patrols along the border.

Multiple attempts to contact Sahal Ahmed Nobel, the commander of the 11-BGB stationed near border Pillar 48, and Abdul Mannan, the Officer in Charge (OC) of Naikhongchhari police station, were unsuccessful as they did not answer the calls.

However, Nurul Absar Emon, chairman of the Naikhongchhari Sadar Union Parishad, commented on the situation, stating, “I am aware of the shooting and killing of Abul Kalam, a young man from Bamhatirchhara. His body remains in Myanmar, but vigorous efforts are ongoing to retrieve it.”

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