Bangladesh, Myanmar exchange fire in fresh border tension

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 31 Mei 2014 | 08.21

DHAKA: Tensions escalated afresh along the Bangladesh-Myanmar frontier as border forces of the two countries traded gunfire for hours sparked off by the killing of a Bangladeshi guard on patrol, officials said on Saturday.

"The two border forces mobilized further on the border after they exchanged gunshots for several hours late yesterday," a local journalist told PTI by phone.

He added that residents of at least eight frontier villages were evacuated to safety from near the zero line while an alert was issued for the people along the border though no fresh gunshots were exchanged on Saturday.

Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) chief Major General Aziz Ahmed said told the media Myanmar's Border Guard Police (BGP) opened fire afresh on Bangladeshi frontier troops after asking them to come to a certain location to take back a body, believed to of slain BGB soldier Mizanur Rahman.

"Since morning (Friday) Myanmar troops (through common sources) had been giving us several locations on the borders to handover the body and our troops followed their suggestions," he said.

But, he said, when the BGB members went to a certain point, instead of handing back the body, the Myanmar forces suddenly opened fire forcing the "the BGB members to fire back in self-defence".

BGB officials at Bandarban frontier, the scene of the tension, said no fresh casualty was caused but unconfirmed reports said two more BGB soldiers went missing during the firing at the thickly-forested frontier on Friday.

The officials did not confirm the claim but said the escalated tensions made the situation "unsuitable" for any flag meeting with Myanmar border forces on the zero line.

On Wednesday, Myanmar's border troops suddenly opened fire on BGB soldiers who were on a routine patrol at the Naikhangchharhi area when Rahman went missing.

The people in the area later said that Rahman collapsed on the ground as the Myanmar border police started shooting and after the retreat of the BGB patrol team they took him away from the no man's land.

The foreign ministry earlier summoned Myanmar's envoy in Dhaka, Than Myo Myint on Friday, to protest the unprovoked action and demanded an investigation into the incident.

Bangladesh shares a 190-kilometre southeastern border with Myanmar.

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