Explosions and gunfire rattle Teknaf border amid Myanmar conflict

TEKNAF CORRESPONDENT

Intermittent gunfire echoed through the night across the eastern and southern regions of Teknaf Upazila in Cox’s Bazar, with local residents reporting sounds originating from the Myanmar border last Thursday evening. 

The situation escalated on Friday morning (16 February) as two loud explosions shook the area, causing concern among the local population.

Residents of Saint Martin and Shahpori Island, areas in the southern part of Teknaf, recounted hearing the sound of gunfire intermittently from across the Myanmar border from 1 a.m. Thursday night until 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. 

They also reported experiencing occasional blasts that shook the ground. The intensity of gunfire increased in the early hours, waking people on the Bangladesh side of the border.

Witnesses also spotted helicopters flying over Maungdaw in Myanmar, opposite Shahpori Island, early in the morning. Shortly after, the border vicinity was rocked by two loud blasts.

“Throughout the night, we heard continuous gunfire from Myanmar, but this morning, two loud explosions caused the ground on our side to shake,” said Rahmat Ullah, a resident of Jaliapara on Shahpori Island.

According to Nur Mohammad, a resident of Saint Martin, despite the approximate 20 kilometers distance from Myanmar, the sound of gunfire and explosions was clearly audible. “Though two loud blasts were heard this morning, there has been no further sound of gunfire or explosions after 8 a.m.,” he stated.

This recent unrest near the Teknaf border has heightened anxiety among Bangladeshis. Abdus Salam, the No 9 Ward member of Sabrang Union Parishad in Teknaf, expressed concerns over the nighttime gunfire and the fear it instilled in the community. He referenced recent incidents in the Naikhongchhari area of Bandarban, where internal conflicts within Myanmar led to casualties.

In response to the situation, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has increased patrols along the border. “Due to internal conflicts in Myanmar, our BGB personnel stationed at the border have detected intermittent gunfire throughout the night between two factions,” Lieutenant Colonel Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed, commander of the Teknaf 2 BGB Battalion, confirmed. He assured that measures have been taken to enhance security in the area.

Md. Adnan Chowdhury, the Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), said that the BGB and the Coast Guard have intensified their patrols in light of the conflict in Myanmar. Local residents near the border have been advised to remain vigilant during the ongoing disturbances.

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