Myanmar will take back border police who fled to Bangladesh: foreign minister

Asked whether Bangladesh would request support from the UN or a third country, the foreign minister claimed Bangladesh’s border was protected

Published : 5 Feb 2024, 12:27 PM
Updated : 5 Feb 2024, 12:27 PM

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hasan Mahmud claims that Bangladesh’s border is ‘protected’ amid ongoing conflict between the Myanmar junta and insurgent groups and that the government has begun discussions with Myanmar about sending back the border police personnel who fled to Bangladesh.

“We have uninterrupted communication and this morning our ambassador [in Myanmar] has spoken to their deputy foreign minister. They will take back their citizens. That is, the Border Guard Police or BGP who have come will be returned.”

“Now we are in discussions about what the process of their return will be. We are still discussing whether they will be taken back by air or through the port. We will find a way.”

Myanmar had previously returned citizens who had entered India through an air route, Mahmud said.

The Myanmar border force has been engaged in armed conflict with the rebel Arakan Army across the border from Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari Upazila’s Tumbru border for the past few days. As of Monday morning, 95 members of the BGP have fled to Bangladesh amid the fighting.

Two, including a Bangladeshi citizen, have reportedly been killed by a mortar shell fired from Myanmar on Monday afternoon.

Asked whether Bangladesh would request support from the UN or another country to limit the effects of the conflict, the foreign minister said the Bangladesh border is ‘protected’.

“As they fled, we gave them refuge,” he said. “Our borders are well secured. As talks are ongoing between the two countries, there have been no questions raised about involving a third party so far.”

Asked whether someone had contacted Dhaka regarding the border police, the foreign minister said, “They contacted us and we contacted them. Both sides have been in communication.”

In response to a question on when the BGP personnel would be sent back, he said, “We are working on that. More may come or are likely to come. So, we are working on it.”

Mahmud worried the number of people fleeing may increase.

“We have 95 people on record, maybe more are coming. I am only speaking about the news we received as of this morning. It is now the afternoon. I don’t know whether more have come in the meantime.”