By John Rozario
The world is witnessing a new level of aggression in Myanmar. However, conflicts and conflicts between the Myanmar Army and the armed Arakan Army are not new. However, the conflict between them has taken a new turn in the last few weeks. It has spread to neighboring areas including northern Rakhine, Maungdoo and Sittwe, along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the country’s ambassador in connection with the ongoing shelling in Myanmar’s Rakhine state across the Ghumdhum border in Naikxyongchari upazila of Bandarban.
He was summoned for the fourth round in connection with the death of a Rohingya teenager and injuries to several others when a mortar shell fired by the country fell on the zero line on the Bangladesh border.
On Sunday (September 18) at 11:20 a.m., two people, including Myanmar’s ambassador to Dhaka, U Aung Kyaw Mo, came to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after receiving an urgent summons.
On August 28, two mortar shells landed in Ghumdhum area of Naikxyongchari Upazila of Bandarban, near the zero point of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Although no one was injured, panic spread among the residents of the border area. Since then, the sound of gunshots has been heard almost every day. Among them, the country fired from two warplanes and two fighting helicopters.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protested these incidents by summoning the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka several times. Last Friday (September 16) afternoon, a young man named Winu Thwaing Tanchangya (22) was injured in a landmine explosion inside Myanmar across the Naikshyongchari border. Then at around 8 pm, a mortar shell fired from Myanmar landed in the border’s no-man’s land. The incident took place in Konarpara area of Ward No. 2 of Ghumdhum Union of Naikshyongchari. Md. living in the border area due to the explosion. A Rohingya named Iqbal (17) was killed. Five more people were injured.
After these two incidents in a day, panic has increased among the residents of the border area. No one leaves the house unless necessary. Many are leaving their homes and moving elsewhere.
The junta forces are in a very vulnerable position due to the onslaught of the Arakan Army. The Junta forces did not think the war could take such a dire shape and that they would attack the Arakan Army militarily. So now they are behaving like losers. On 15 September, the Arakan Army seized a military base in Maungdu, northern Rakhine State, despite the Myanmar Army sending 500 junta reinforcements. This military base named Mi Taek is located near Pillar No. 37 of the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. Despite the help of air and artillery forces to defend the base, the junta forces could not hold it. It should be noted that Mi Taek is the third base of Myanmar Army in Maungdoo region occupied by Arakan Army in the last two weeks. The armed group has already taken control of several key strategic roads in the region. As a result, the junta is now forced to use waterways to transport its troops and supplies to northern Rakhine state. Having lost control of the land route, the junta forces are supplying troops and supplies by ship through the ports of Sittwe and Shwe Mingan.
Earlier on September 11, they lost control of the Kien Chaung strategic base. On September 14, another base was lost in northern Rakhine State near Pillar 37 on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. In a statement, the Arakan Army claimed that a Myanmar army lance corporal was captured and 19 other junta soldiers, including a police lieutenant, were killed in clashes between the two sides during the occupation of the base. Clashes between the two sides also spread to nearby areas including Miwa Hill and Tinma village. The armed Arakan Army has also captured Temawa outpost in the region. The fighting is so severe that the junta government’s Maritime Administration Department has banned the movement of boats and trawlers in the port of Sittwe and the Kaladan River. The junta forces are bringing in fresh troops from bases in other regions to counter the Arakan Army.
The death of a Rohingya youth living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh by a mortar shell is proof of the extreme nature of this war. These deaths are the ultimate manifestation of the aggressive and reckless attitude of the Myanmar junta. We strongly condemn the Myanmar government in this incident.
Due to the war between the Junta Army and the armed Arakan Army in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border region, the country’s border violation with Bangladesh is happening repeatedly. The uncivilized and reckless behavior of the Myanmar Army has reached extremes. The junta army’s violation of land border regulations and international law, the air force’s incursion into Bangladeshi airspace and the firing of shells and mortar shells into Bangladesh demonstrate how reckless Myanmar’s behavior under the junta government has reached. Such unwarranted and provocative behavior is a threat to Bangladesh’s security and a fresh blow to bilateral relations. Through this, Myanmar is not only creating a security threat for Bangladesh; Rather, this behavior is a violation of international law and the UN Charter. Such provocative and belligerent behavior of the junta government is a form of barbarism. Also, such behavior will not only damage the Rohingya crisis, but also threaten regional peace and security. Therefore, regional countries, major powers and the international community should take urgent measures against Myanmar and adopt a condemnation resolution discussed in the UN Security Council. If the reckless, aggressive behavior of Myanmar’s military junta is not countered now, the country will become more dangerous and pose a major threat to regional and international security.
The inaction Myanmar has been carrying out on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border for several weeks is unintended. Sadly, one person was recently killed in such inaction in Myanmar; Several people were injured. Above all, in such a situation the inhabitants of a town within a free and sovereign state are living in great anxiety; At the same time, their livelihood and economic activities are also threatened.
The question is, what should Bangladesh do in this situation? Bangladesh, however, has already summoned Myanmar’s ambassador several times and protested strongly about this. Its Home Minister has also expressed his reaction in this regard. Apart from this a few days ago during the visit of the Bangladesh Prime Minister to India he met the Foreign Minister of that country and I think he certainly raised the issue of the recent mishaps in Myanmar.
A significant part of the Rohingya population of the Rakhine region of Myanmar has left the country and sought refuge in Bangladesh due to the endless persecution and dire conditions of the military junta. We know that there is a fierce conflict between the Myanmar army and the rebel groups there. In this context, Myanmar may be trying to create some kind of psychological pressure on Bangladesh. In this situation, I think that the neighboring friendly country India, as well as other friendly countries such as China and Russia, can bring to the discussion table not only the current situation, but also seek an acceptable overall solution to the Rohingya problem.
In this case some may say, if the current situation is prolonged; That is, Myanmar’s border-centric inactivity continues, so Bangladesh will sit idly by? The answer is, of course not. However, as Bangladesh attaches utmost importance to maintaining harmony and cordial relations with its neighbors and neighboring countries, the Prime Minister herself self has said this about Myanmar, so it is safe to say that Bangladesh is testing its patience. However, if the situation takes a more negative and warlike form, then Bangladesh will also have to think about the matter anew; Actions may also be taken if necessary.