BGB, Coast Guard asked to remain alert with ‘reinforcement’, if required

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Dhaka, Sept 18: Acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (retired) Md Khurshed Alam on Sunday said that they had a high-level meeting on Sunday with all concerned and urged the Border Guard Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Coast Guard to remain on high alert with ‘reinforcement’ if required.

Khurshed Alam, also secretary at Maritime Affairs Unit at the foreign ministry, said that Bangladesh was a ‘responsible and peace-loving’ country and they were ‘observing and tolerating’ the situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border with much patience.

Talking to reporters at the ministry, he said that they were in touch with all the relevant agencies and the government remains alert so that no Myanmar national could enter Bangladesh.

Earlier in the morning, the MoFA summoned Myanmar ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe for the fourth time and lodged a strong protest over the recent incidents along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The ambassador was summoned at the office of Md Najmul Huda, the director general (South East Asia wing) of the foreign ministry.

Khurshed Alam said that Bangladesh conveyed the Myanmar ambassador that what was happening in Myanmar was their internal issue and the Myanmar side needed to think how they would solve it.

He said that Bangladesh strongly conveyed the ambassador to take steps to prevent repetition of such incidents – no death – no further injuries – inside Bangladesh.

The acting foreign secretary said that the Myanmar envoy listened to the Bangladesh side with time and assured that he would report to the headquarters.

He said that Bangladesh was trying to resolve any problem, including the Rohingya crisis, through discussion and peacefully.

The acting foreign secretary hoped that there would be a solution if they (Bangladesh) remain strong.

He said that Bangladesh was not demonstrating any weakness, rather it was conveying its message to Myanmar from a very strong position.

Earlier, Dhaka reiterated its ‘deep concern’ over the recent incidents of Myanmar’s mortar shelling, indiscriminate aerial firing in the bordering areas, and air space violations.

On Saturday, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that the government was trying to resolve the issues with Myanmar peacefully and diplomatically but a complaint would be lodged to the United Nations regarding mortar shelling at the border, if necessary.

He said that the Bangladesh foreign ministry had warned Myanmar several times but they didn’t keep their promise. ‘We have lodged a strong protest over casualties from Friday’s mortar shelling by Myanmar at Tombru border,’ he added.

‘Myanmar’s internal conflicts should remain within its border but their forces are crossing the border time and again and injuring Bangladeshi nationals,’ said Asaduzzaman.

He said that Myanmar Border Guard Police was continuously being contacted about this issue and Border Guard Bangladesh had remained alert to prevent illegal entry of Rohingyas.

On Friday night, a 17-year-old-Rohingya boy named Mohammad Iqbal was killed and five others were injured as a mortar shell fired by the Myanmar army exploded at the Zero Point Rohingya Camp close to the international border in Tombru, Bandarban.

The deceased and injured were all residents of the Zero Point Rohingya Camp, known as the camp that is closest to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in No Man’s Land.

Four mortar shells landed in succession at the Rohingya camp around 8:00pm.

Earlier, an ethnic minority youth named Anganthowai Tanchangya was grievously injured in a landmine explosion along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Naikhongchhari upazila of Bandarban on Friday noon.

Locals said that it was the Myanmar army that had mined the area. Twelve mortar shells have been fired by the Myanmar army on Bangladesh territory so far.