Border tensions prompt closure of schools in Bangladesh

BANDARBAN CORRESPONDENT

Amidst escalating violence near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has temporarily shut down five primary schools in the Ghumdhum area of Naikhongchhari, Bandarban. 

The decision comes in response to ongoing clashes between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army rebels, creating a climate of fear and uncertainty in the border region.

“Intense gunfire and skirmishes have been reported near the border since last night, causing panic among the local population,” said residents, detailing the violence that led to the capture of strategic camps by the Arakan Army. The conflict has forced many to flee their homes in search of safety.

In light of these developments, Deputy Secretary Akhtarunnahar announced the closure of educational institutions to ensure the safety of students, with no set date for reopening. The affected schools include Baish Fari Government Primary School and Bhaja Bonia Government Primary School among others, situated perilously close to the volatile border.

District Primary Education Officer Abdul Mannan underscored the tense situation: “With the border area under siege and families displaced, the welfare of our students is our foremost concern. Continuous monitoring of the situation will determine when it is safe to resume classes.”

Moreover, the conflict took a dire turn this afternoon when a mortar shell fired from a Myanmar helicopter landed in Bangladeshi territory, causing casualties. “The incident at Jalpaitali, resulting in two fatalities, underscores the urgent need for heightened security measures,” stated Brigadier General Murshed Alam of Cox’s Bazar-34 BGB, expressing deep regret over the loss of life.

Security forces, including BGB, RAB, and police, have intensified their presence in the area, urging residents to remain vigilant and prioritize safety. 

“The ongoing tension has been a source of considerable distress for border communities, compelling many to seek refuge in safer locations,” added Cox’s Bazar RAB 15 Deputy Commander Abu Salam Chowdhury, emphasizing the collaborative effort to maintain peace and order.

The government has reached out to Myanmar to address the fallout of the conflict, working diligently to repatriate BGP members and ensure that no further incursions disrupt the relative peace of Bangladesh’s border regions.

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