Sporadic gunfire punctuates relative calm along Bangladesh-Myanmar border

The intense gunfire that echoed from across the Myanmar border has subsided, though sporadic gunshots still ring out

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 9 Feb 2024, 09:12 AM
Updated : 9 Feb 2024, 09:12 AM

After days of unrest, a lull in fighting between Myanmar military forces and armed insurgents has restored a semblance of calm to the border region between Bandarban and Cox's Bazar.

Consequently, many local residents who had fled their homes have started to return. Families rushed to resume their household and farming duties, but concerns over their safety still linger.

The intense gunfire that echoed last week has subsided, though sporadic gunshots from Myanmar are still occasionally heard.

Anwarul Islam, a representative of the Tumbru Union Council in Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari, highlighted a drop in the intensity of the fighting since last Wednesday.

"The gunfire isn't as intense as it was on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. However, we still occasionally hear sudden gunshots or heavy shelling," he said on Friday.

Locals reported hearing heavy shelling and gunfire from across the Myanmar border around 11 am. But Anwarul believes it is a way for the Myanmar border guards to signal their presence.

There is concern among Tumbru residents that Myanmar's junta forces might attempt to recapture two outposts, known as 'Left Camp' and 'Right Camp', along the border.

Additionally, some residents near the Teknaf border reported hearing gunfire on Thursday night. People living in the Whykang and Nhila areas, however, remained in their homes, cautiously monitoring the situation.

Panic gripped the Tumbru border area in Bandarban's Naikhongchhari Upazila over the past week, with gunshots regularly ringing out from the Myanmar side.

Gunfire and mortar shells also reached Bangladeshi territory last week, hitting homes, and killing two people, including a woman.

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

The Myanmar military and rebel group Arakan Army have been involved in intense fighting in Rakhine state over the last few days.

In 2021, the Myanmar military overthrew the elected civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup. In late October 2023, three ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar joined forces to launch a coordinated offensive against the junta forces.

These groups are the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Arakan Army (AA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

These groups have engaged in armed conflict with the Myanmar military in the states of Shan, Rakhine, Chin and Kayah. The rebels have successfully taken over several important areas and army posts.

The Arakan Army, an armed force of a minority ethnic group in the western state of Rakhine, is fighting for greater autonomy for Rakhine.

The conflict between the army and insurgents is spilling over and affecting communities across the border.

Hundreds of security personnel from Myanmar also fled into Bangladesh to escape the conflict.