A Rohingya teenager has reportedly been killed and several others injured after mortar shells fired from Myanmar exploded in Bangladeshi territory, according to officials and community leaders.
The shells fell on a refugee settlement near the Tumabru and Konapara border in Bandarban's Ghumdhum Union around 8 pm on Friday, the latest in a string of violent incidents that have put residents on edge.
In a video retrieved from the camp’s Rohingya residents, a bloodied man can be seen being carried onto an autorickshaw. However, bdnews24.com could not independently verify the video.
Several mortar shells flew from the Myanmar side of the border towards the camp, according to camp community leader Md Arif, also known as Master Arif.
Three of them detonated at the camp, while two others fell inside the Bangladesh border.
“A man has been killed and four have been injured after the mortar shells exploded at the Rohingya camp,” he said.
“Locals rescued the injured and took them to the MSF Hospital next to the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Ukhiya Upazila. Two of them are in critical condition. I cannot confirm if anyone was injured by the mortar shells that exploded near the border.”
Bangladesh is currently sheltering more than a million Rohingya, most of whom fled violence and persecution in Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2017, in camps along the south coast. These camps make up the largest refugee settlement in the world.
But the Muslim minority group has recently been caught in the crossfire between Myanmar's military and the Arakan Army, insurgents fighting for self-determination for ethnic minorities in Rakhine state.
The mortar strike has given rise to fear at the camp, according to Arif. Border Guard Bangladesh has deployed troops in the area to tighten security.
Dil Mohammad, a community leader at Konapara Rohingya camp, home to around 4,000 forcibly displaced people at the border's zero line, said: “A shell fell in the camp and exploded. One person was killed and five others injured.”
Two other shells landed very close to the camp, according to him. “Another shell crossed the border and fell into Bangladesh, but I can’t pinpoint where it fell.”
According to him, 15-year-old Mohammad Iqbal was killed in the strike, while Jahid Alam, 30, Nabi Hossain, 21, Md Anas, 15, Sadia, 9, and another unnamed individual were injured.
Ghumdhum Union Ward-2 Council Member Dil Mohammad also confirmed the casualties, adding no Bangladeshis were injured.
About 30-35 Bangladeshi families in the area have left following the incident and some Rohingya people near the zero line fled, he said.
Md Arif also noticed a shell fly across the border into Bangladesh, but he could not say if anyone was wounded by it.
SI Shohag Rana is in charge of the Ghumdhum Police Investigation Centre. When asked about the shells, he said: “We are unable to go to the border area and we cannot speak about border issues, either. We have no information on this matter.”
Earlier this month, mortar shells fired from Myanmar had landed in Bangladesh during skirmishes between the Rakhine-based Arakan Army and the Myanmar junta.
Myanmar warplanes also crossed the border several times.
Local residents say gunfire regularly rings out near the border and they are terrified to leave their homes. They are also trying to stay at a safe distance from the border.
Rubber plantation workers near the border have been moved away from the area.
Dhaka has expressed deep concern over the incidents and has summoned the Myanmar envoy on several occasions to lodge protests.
[With details from Reuters]