Border road project works in Bangladesh’s Ghumdhum halted as Myanmar military, Arakan army fight on

NAIKHONGCHHARI CORRESPONDENT

A fierce fighting between the Myanmar army and the Arakan army in the Rakhine State has brought to a halt the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Border Road Project work in Ghumdhum area of Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari upazila.

Stopping the project work, some 600 workers have escaped to safety.

They said they are afraid of being hit by stray bullets and mortar shells due to the fight taking place just across the border of where they are working on the road project.

Several workers told this correspondent that they have so far stopped their work fearing for their security due to the fight across the border for two times – one was 25 days ago and the other on Wednesday.

Workers Sirajul, Rafiq, Shahidullah and Labe Tanchangya said helicopters have been hovering their heads often firing shots and panicking them.

They fear stray bullets or mortar shells could cause casualties any time providing that they continued their work on the border amid the fighting across the border.

Several workers of Tumbru area told this correspondent that they returned to work complying with their authorities’ order on Wednesday (Aug 31, 2022) but had to flee from there fearing for their security.

They said they would return to work once the fighting ends.

Another source told Parbatta News that the Myanmar army has been shelling just across the border of Ghumdhum for a month in efforts to suppress the Arakan Army.

Myanmar Army has been using helicopters and drones in the fighting, the source said.

In one go, they fire 20 to 30 mortar shells and two of which fell in the courtyard of the mosque in North Tumbru village, the source added.

The source added that the Myanmar Army – failing to identify Arakan Army hideouts – are shelling randomly.

Local people’s representatives told Parbatta News that on Friday (September 2) morning, the Myanmar Army opened fire at the zero point of the Myanmar border for an hour.

Ghumdhum UP member Abul Kalam told Parbatta News that all activities in the border areas have been stopped due to the security risks from the Myanmar Army-Arakan Army gunfight in Myanmar just across the border.

Earlier, due to the sound of gunfire, panic seized the people living in pillars 39 and 40, prompting them to take safe shelters elsewhere at night. In addition, the Myanmar Army has fired several rounds of helicopters in this border area, he said.

UP member Mr Kalam also claimed that people in his area saw ‘jet’ planes and drones flying on Tuesday afternoon. Several rounds of mortar shells also came in from across Bangladesh’s Tumbru border

Ghumdhum Union Parishad Chairman Jahangir Aziz said that the people of his area heard the sound of firing in a new way along the Reju Amtali Fatrajhiri Baishphandi border.

On Thursday, he said, the Myanmar Army attacked the Arakan Armu along the Ghumdhum border, including pillar areas of no 39 and 40.

And since the start of the gunfight, the workers of the border road have escaped to safety. They are expected to return to work once their security fears are gone, he said.

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