Published:  12:08 AM, 30 January 2023

Do Myanmar, Bangladesh need to conduct joint military exercise more and more?

Sufian Siddique

A joint military exercise was conducted by Border Guard Bangladesh-BGB and Myanmar Border Guard Force-BGP at Naf River in Teknaf, Cox's Bazar. This exercise lasted from Tuesday morning to noon.

BGB Teknaf 2 Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Sheikh Khalid Mohammad Iftekhar gave this information in a press release issued in the afternoon. It is said that in order to effectively secure the border of Bangladesh-Myanmar, a joint patrol of BGB-BGP level started at the Naf River at the zero line of the border following all the protocols of border management around 9:30 am. The 12-member BGB patrol team was led by Teknaf battalion captain Lt. Colonel Sheikh Khalid Mohammad Iftekhar and 12 members of BGP led the patrol team led by BGP Mongdu No. 1 branch captain Lt. Col. Ye Y. Show.

Lt. Colonel Sheikh Khalid said that joint patrolling between the two countries was suspended for almost three years from March 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 worldwide and the situation arising on the Myanmar border since July 2022, which was adversely affecting border management. In this context, with the joint and diplomatic efforts of the border guard forces of both countries, it was decided to start this joint patrol with the consent of both countries in the flag meeting at the level of BGB-BGP battalion commanders on October 30 last year. In view of which the border guards of both the countries started joint patrolling operations on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border yesterday.

The BGB captain also said that a courtesy meeting was held at the BGB-BGP captain level during the joint exercise. It was said in the meeting that as a result of the joint patrolling, full control of the respective border guard forces will be established on the islands in the Naf River which are located along the Bangladesh-Myanmar international border and the islands which were used as shelters for smuggling or criminal gangs in the presence of the border guard forces of both countries. The joint patrolling activities of the border guarding forces of the two friendly countries will continue in the future as well. It is strongly hoped that the border guarding forces of both the countries will be able to keep their own borders safe by continuing this joint patrolling operation. In this regard, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, Rohingyas will not be our only challenge. The whole world will be challenged. They left everything and came to Bangladesh. So, they can be tempted by any temptation. For that, they can become victims of international terrorists.

The Home Minister said that three groups of Rohingyas are causing the recent clashes at the Tumbru border with various incitements. The Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh are creating chaos. There are three-four groups among the Rohingyas. Some are engaging in yaba business, some are fighting themselves. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also said that the law-and-order forces have been put on the highest alert.

If the active insurgents among the Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh cannot be controlled now, then the border situation and the sovereignty of the country may be threatened, apart from the overall security system. In their opinion, the country is creating instability on the border as part of various conspiracies with Myanmar and Bangladesh to prevent the repatriation of Rohingyas by proving them as terrorists. They mentioned that the Myanmar army is supplying heavy weapons including grenades to some Rohingya terrorists in addition to drugs.

Law enforcement agencies are also worried about the use of sophisticated grenades by these terrorists after the use of sophisticated weapons like M-16 and AK-47. According to the information provided by them, multiple clashes and shootings have occurred between two groups fighting to maintain their supremacy in multiple shelter camps in Ukhia in four months. At least 23 people died. 10 of them are Rohingya. Apart from this, 37 people were abducted from Ukhia alone in the last four months. Among them, 11 people were rescued by law-and-order forces. The rest came back with ransom. The abductees are 17 Rohingyas and 20 locals. The Rohingya terrorists hiding in the Ukhia-Teknaf shelter camp of Cox's Bazar are using sophisticated weapons to compete to increase their power. Rohingya leaders are being targeted and killed. 23 people have been killed in the last four months in the camp. Recently, a talented intelligence officer was killed by Rohingya terrorists during a drug and weapons recovery operation.

The question of the locals is, where do they get weapons in protected areas like camps? There is no good answer. Horrible crimes like drug and human trafficking worth hundreds of crores of rupees are taking place in the camps. Heinous acts like human and women trafficking have been going on for the last few years. It is feared that there may be more spread of violent incidents. If they are not brought under control now, the country's sovereignty and security may be threatened. On January 17, on Tuesday night, during the search of BGB's hideout of drug dealers on Palangkhali border of UkhiaUpazila, drug kingpin and terrorist Nabi Hossain Bahini fired two to three hundred rounds at BGB. BGBO fired back in self-defence. However, BGB said that there were no casualties.

On the other hand, members of the armed group Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and members of Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) clashed at the zero line of the Tumbru border at around 6 am last Wednesday. Houses of Rohingyas were set on fire from Wednesday afternoon. On that day, the shooting continued until 9:00 p.m. More than 10 people were injured.

4 thousand 200 Rohingyas of 621 families lived in this camp on the zero line of Tumbru border. The residents of the border area said that they are living miserable days. Habiba Begum (45), a resident of the Ghumdhum Konapara Rohingya refugee camp, said that one-third of the Rohingya's homes had been burnt down. As a result, many have taken refuge in two schools. Habiba Begum said, "I don't know where my three sons Hamid, Hossain and Ali are now." I am looking for them.'

According to the information of the law enforcement agencies, the law enforcement agencies have been shaken since the recent recovery of a grenade from the house of Nabi Hussain, the Rohingya terrorist who is being talked about from Balukhali camp in Ukhia. Since the recovery of the grenade, the panic in the camp is increasing.

In this regard, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Ukhia Police Station Sheikh Mohammad Ali said that the green colored grenade found in the Rohingya settlement is similar to Argus grenade. On investigation, the police came to know that the grenade belonged to the Nabi Force. Arrested injured during the incident, Nabi is one of the accomplices of Rohingya terrorist Nabi Hussain. So, to know how the grenade came to his house, Md Nabi will be remanded and questioned, said the OC. In this direction, after the recovery of grenades, several reliable sources claim that there are hundreds of grenades and a large number of sophisticated weapons in Totardia secret hideout on the border, which is discussed as Nabi Hussain's base. From there the weapons were taken to different camps. The grenades are claimed to be made in Myanmar. The alleged ARSA name holders are also not lagging behind in collecting weapons. They have also stockpiled weapons by setting up bases on the border with the cooperation of the Myanmar.

There are allegations that some actors are providing heavy weapons including grenades to the Rohingya terrorists as part of various conspiracies along with drugs to create instability in the country. Myanmar wants to block the repatriation of Rohingyas by proving them as terrorists. Security agencies monitoring Rohingya terrorists have information that Nabi Hussain and ARSA have been supplied by the Myanmar Army with a large number of Myanmar-made grenades as well as heavy weapons. One Nabi Hussain has hundreds of grenades in his hands. Nabi Hossain is able to carry out large-scale attacks in and outside the camp with these grenades. An officer in charge of the intelligence agency confirmed that the matter has already been reported to the highest level of the government.

On the one hand, the Myanmar government continues to discuss the repatriation of the Rohingyas, while on the other hand, the camps are being systematically disrupted with the help of terrorists in the camps. In particular, the allegations of direct cooperation with ARSA and Nabi Hussain forces are long-standing. The main goal of some actors is to destabilize the camps and portray the Rohingya as terrorists through killings between the two groups. Because of this, Rohingya terrorists can come and go in Myanmar without any hindrance.

Sufian Siddique is a
freelancer and a columnist.

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