Bangladesh evacuates 30 families from border amid fury in Myanmar
In the face of continuous gunfire and mortar shelling inside Myanmar close to the Bangladesh border for six hours on Saturday (Oct 22, 2022), local authorities have evacuated 30 families in Dochari and Ghumdhum unions of Naikhyangchari upazila in Bandarban district.
The sound and fury on the Myanmar side of the international border, where the Myanmar army is engaged in fighting a well-resourced insurgency forged by the Arakan Army, started again on Saturday, after a week’s lull.
Firing resumed on the Myanmar side of Bangladesh’s border — from Dochari to Ghumdhum union — at 1:00pm and continued till 6:30pm, gripping the locals with fear.
Gunshots and explosions have often been heard in the border areas for a few months as the country’s military has clashed with separatist groups.
Md Rahman, a local of Dochari union’s Jamchhari, said that the Arkan Army, an ethnic armed organisation based in Rakhine state, had stopped taking up positions near the border for a long time, instead operating deep inside Myanmar. ‘But over the past week, the Arkan Army has positioned itself closer to the border,’ he said.
Naikhyangchari sadar union parishad chairman Nurul Absar Imon, who is now in Jamchhari, said, ‘For several days, there was no firing in the area but it suddenly started again at 1:00pm today and continued till 6:30pm, sending a panic wave among the locals.’
‘At least 15 rounds of stray bullets from Myanmar landed in Bangladesh. Thirty families whose houses are too close to the border were evacuated to safety amid heavy shelling and firing inside Myanmar. And there was no casualty inside Bangladesh,’ Imon added.
Also, firing has been continuing on the Myanmar side of Bangladesh’s Tombru of Ghumdhum for the past two months.
On September 16, a Rohingya boy was killed and five others were injured as a mortar shell fired by the Myanmar army exploded at zero point Rohingya camp.
On the same day, another Bangladeshi youth was seriously injured in a landmine explosion along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Naikhyangchari upazila of Bandarban.
Locals said that it was the Myanmar army that had mined the area. One exploded near the Tombru border when the youth went there to bring back his cow.