09/19/2022, 12.17
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One dead and five injured in clashes on the border with Myanmar. Dhaka: 'No more refugees'

by Sumon Corraya

In recent days a mortar shell exploded on the Bangladesh border killing a 17-year-old boy. The Burmese ambassador was summoned for the fourth time in less than a month. According to experts, the coup junta wants to involve Dhaka in the fight against the rebels.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A mortar shell from Myanmar killed a 17-year-old Rohingya boy and wounded five others on the edge of Cox's Bazar refugee camp, near the border between the cities of Tombru (in Myanmar) and Bandarban (in Bangladesh).

This is yet another episode of violence in the Burmese civil war that spills over into Bangladesh after fighting between the Burmese coup junta and the Arakan Army, the local ethnic militia in Rakhine State, has been going on for almost two months.

The two sides had signed a truce in November 2020, but the civil war that broke out following the Burmese army's coup in February 2021 has spread to all regions of Myanmar.

The Bangladesh government has ruled out deploying troops to the border, but has instructed the Border and Coast Guard to recruit new personnel if necessary. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan stated that Bangladesh does not want war: 'Our efforts will continue to find a peaceful solution. If they fail, we will turn to the UN'.

On 14 September the Bangladeshi premier Sheikh Hasina had said that her country had so far provided shelter to the Rohingya for humanitarian reasons, but they were now becoming a 'burden'.

The Cox's Bazar refugee camp is already home to more than one million refugees, most of whom arrived after the Burmese army's persecution of the Rohingya (Myanmar's Muslim ethnic minority) in 2017.

Hundreds of people have been massing at the border in recent weeks, waiting to cross the Naf River into Bangladesh. According to Border Guard figures, from January to July this year, the Bangladesh Security Forces turned back 480 refugees.

Myanmar Ambassador Aung Kyaw Moe was summoned yesterday for the fourth time in less than a month by the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The diplomat claims that it was the Arakan Army rebels who fired the mortar shells and wanted to destabilise bilateral relations.

According to the president of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies, Major General Muniruzzaman, the Burmese conflict will become low-intensity after the border tensions have passed.

Not only has the fighting between the Arakan Army and the Burmese Army spilled over into the Bangladesh territories, but there have also been airspace violations in the past months. According to the expert, it seems that the coup junta wants to involve Bangladesh in the fighting against the Arakan Army.

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