How a wooden bedhead saved Ghumdhum's Shahidul in a close call with death

As gunshots rang out from across the Myanmar border, a bullet suddenly pierced through his window and struck his bed's headboard

U She Thowai Marma Bandarban
Published : 8 Feb 2024, 09:27 AM
Updated : 8 Feb 2024, 09:27 AM

Usually an early riser, Shahidul Islam found himself waking up later than usual on Tuesday.

His morning began with the sound of gunfire, and suddenly, a bullet pierced through his window, striking the wooden headboard of his bed.

Fortunately, the tall headboard blocked the bullet, saving Shahidul's life.

The 25-year-old resides in Ghumdhum's Betbunia Bazar, located in the Bandarban's Naikhangchhari. His tin-roofed house is just half a kilometre away from a Myanmar border guard camp, with only the Bangladesh border road separating them.

On Wednesday, Shahidul recounted the terrifying incident at his tea stall in Ghumdhum Bazar.

“Although we live in the border area, our house is situated in a place where bullets are not expected to reach. No matter what happened at the border, we were supposed to be safe. But the sound of gunfire that day is still vivid in my mind."

Tensions escalated in Tumbru border area the day before the incident as battles between the Myanmar military and armed insurgents raged on the other side.

Concerns about potential violence in Ghumdhum kept Shahidul awake until 3 am. That is why he overslept the following day.

"It was 8:50 am when suddenly, our house was under a barrage of bullets. All I could hear was gunfire," he said.

A bullet shattered the window and struck the headboard of his bed. "That bullet was headed straight for me. I would have been dead if not for the wooden headboard," Shahidul said.

He believes that the sequence of the bullet hitting the window and then the headboard was what miraculously saved his life.

"If I had woken up at my usual time, I wouldn't be here today. Sleeping in saved my life," he said.

Since the incident, Shahidul has been too afraid to sleep at home, opting to stay at his tea stall instead.

"The fear of another attack has me so terrified that I now sleep at my tea stall. Even the slightest noise reminds me of gunfire, and I live in constant fear," he said.

The conflict between the Myanmar military and rebels in Rakhine has kept residents in the border area of Bangladesh on edge for the last few days.

Gunfire and mortar shells also reached Bangladeshi territory in the past few days, hitting homes, and killing two people, including a woman.

Bangladesh has strongly protested against the casualties by summoning the ambassador of Myanmar on Tuesday.

Hundreds security personnel have also crossed into Bangladesh to escape the conflict.