Members of Myanmar Forces: 264 now in Bandarban

NEWS DESK

At least 264 members of Myanmar forces and border guards had taken refuge in Bangladesh as of Tuesday, fleeing the ongoing battle between Myanmar troops and the armed group called Arakan Army.

As many as 114 of them crossed the border on Tuesday morning, and 35 others came later, according to Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Siddiqui, director general of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

“We gave them shelter and provided them with food,” he said, adding that eight of the 15 injured were taken to hospitals in critical conditions.

The shelter seekers include members of immigration police and other agencies, said Shariful Islam, public relations officer of the BGB, adding that the BGB members disarmed them and took them to safety.

In addition, a group of at least 24 men with firearms from the neighbouring country entered Palongkhali area of Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar,  around 10:30am, said local Union Parishad Chairman Gafuruddin Chowdhury.

“They had four machine guns. They shot a Bangladeshi, and hurt four others in a grenade attack when the villagers tried to stop them from entering,” he said.

One of the locals, named Anwar, was taken to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital in a critical state.

It is unclear which group these men belong to, he said.

Shamim Hossain, officer-in-charge of Ukhiya Police Station, said some of the men could be from the Rohingya refugee camps.

As of last night, the 24 men were detained at the Union Parishad building.

In Bandarban district, which has borders with Myanmar, officials turned Ghumdhum Government Primary School into a makeshift shelter for families who were forced to flee their homes because of the fighting at the borders.

The fighting rages on, mortar shells and bullets have been crossing the border in recent days.

Shah Mozahid Uddin, deputy commissioner of Bandarban, who visited the area around 3:00pm, asked locals to take shelter at the school.

Many families have already taken shelter on the school premises, reports our correspondent from Bandarban.

Around 9:00am Tuesday, a mortar shell landed on the backyard of a house in Ghumdhum area, said Anwar Hossain, a union parishad member.

Meanwhile, BGB Director General Siddiqui told reporters Tuesday that Rohingya refugees would no longer be allowed to enter Bangladesh territory.

He added that a boat carrying 65 Rohingya people was stopped by the BGB men, and the boat would be sent back.

He was speaking to reporters after paying tributes at the grave of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara, Gopalganj.

On Monday, a Bangladeshi woman and a Rohingya man were killed when a mortar shell fired from Myanmar exploded in Ghumdhum.

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