Bangladesh is urging Myanmar to exercise restraint amid escalating border tensions

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country

Bangladesh on Saturday urged Myanmar to exercise restraint as tensions at the borders escalated over the use of artillery pieces along the borders by its forces, killing a Rohingya child and injuring several others in recent days.

“Bangladesh wants war,” Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters here, when asked to comment on the actions of Myanmar security forces at the borders, which spooked both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas who took refuge in makeshift camps in the neighborhood.

Mr Kamal said Bangladesh will inform the UN if Myanmar does not end the shooting near the Bangladesh border as “we have repeatedly warned Myanmar through the Foreign Ministry but they have not heeded the warnings”.

Mr Kamal said Bangladesh wants to resolve the issues with Myanmar peacefully and expects the neighbor to see its mistake and refrain from anything that impedes bilateral ties in the future.

also read | There is no home for the Rohingya

“Since we do not want conflict, our efforts are ongoing to find a peaceful solution with Myanmar. We will do everything,” Mr Kamal said, attributing Myanmar’s actions to its internal conflicts with rebel groups such as the Arakan Liberation Army.

“Sometimes there was a good relationship between Myanmar and the Arakan Army, sometimes it turned into a war for reasons unknown to us. But definitely their war should stay within their borders,” said Mr. Kamal.

Mr Kamal said Dhaka observed Myanmar forces engaged in near-identical conflicts with their own rebel groups on India’s Mizoram borders and borders with Thailand and China, but “conflicts in their country (Myanmar) should remain within their borders”.

also read | Prolonged Rohingya stay affects Bangladesh’s stability, says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Mr Kamal said the Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) is closely monitoring the situation at the border with Myanmar to prevent the influx of people from the neighboring country.

“Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) never wants war, we want a peaceful solution. Keep their internal conflict within their boundaries. We always protest from the outside what is happening on our soil,” said Mr. Kamal.

The minister’s comments came a day after a teenage Rohingya boy died and six people, including a Rohingya child, were seriously injured in gunfire and mortar fire from across the border with Myanmar on Friday in the Gumdhum area of ​​Bangladesh’s southeastern Bandarban district had suffered.

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On the same day, a Bangladeshi youth was injured and lost a leg in a landmine explosion in the Headmanpara border area.

Reports from the borders said both Bangladeshis and Rohingyas who fled their homes in Rakhine state across the border to seek refuge in Bangladesh spent days in fear of indiscriminate gunfire while bullets and mortar shells often continued struck inside Bangladesh.

Officials said the BGB has stepped up patrols and surveillance since two unexploded mortar shells from Myanmar landed in Bangladesh territory on Aug. 28.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already summoned the Myanmar envoy to Dhaka three times on this matter.

Bangladesh currently shelters over 1.1 million Rohingyas since a ruthless military cleansing campaign in Myanmar in August 2017 forced their influx into the country.

Dhaka had previously said it hoped Rohingya repatriation would begin later this year, but experts said the clashes between the Myanmar military and the rebels indicated conditions did not exist for the Rohingya to return consent to home country.

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