Clashes at Myanmar border outpost: Intense gunfire shakes Tumbru area
A violent confrontation erupted between the RSO and ARSA rebel groups over the control of a Myanmar border outpost across Tumbru, situated within the Ghumdhum Union of Naikhongchhari in Bangladesh’s Bandarban district.
Early on Friday morning, 22nd December, around 9:30, residents in the Tumbru Chakma Para and Baishfari areas reported hearing several thousand rounds of gunfire, which caused noticeable vibrations in the vicinity.
Local residents Abu Sayed and Ripon Chakma from the Tumbru and Baishfari border areas said that the gunfire, originating near border pillars 35/36 in the Hati Jhiri and Makkurtila areas, lasted for approximately 45 minutes. They noted the use of both heavy and medium weapons during this incident.
Sources said that the Myanmar government border outpost, situated in the Arakan region, was previously controlled by neither government nor rebel forces and was briefly occupied by an unidentified group a few months ago. Recent efforts have seen government forces attempting to reclaim the outpost with the support of the ARSA armed group.
Concurrently, the RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organization), aiming to establish a foothold in the region, engaged in a two-day conflict for the outpost. The climax of this clash occurred around noon on Friday, resulting in a counterattack by the ARSA group, backed by the Myanmar army, which led to RSO’s retreat and subsequent control of the outpost by the army. The situation in the area remains tense.
Md. Shafiq, a member of the Ghumdhum Union Council, said via telephone that the intensity of the gunfire caused a palpable disturbance in the border area. He assumed that the sounds were related to a conflict between the Myanmar army and a rebel group inside Myanmar, with the noise reaching Tumbru.
Md. Sorwar, a local businessman, noted that the gunfire began during the Jumma prayer and estimated that 5 to 6 thousand rounds were fired.
Notably, on 19th December, the Ghumdhum Union Council had advised against travel to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border area. Despite this warning, the area remains active due to essential life and livelihood activities, with ongoing reports of gunfire at the border.