Schools empty in border areas as gunfire from Myanmar injures two Bangladeshis

Many parents and guardians decided to keep their children at home after the incident

Bandarban CorrespondentCox’s Bazar
Published : 4 Feb 2024, 10:38 AM
Updated : 4 Feb 2024, 10:38 AM

Two Bangladeshis in Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari have been injured by gunfire from across the border in Myanmar. The incident sparked panic among local residents and many parents and guardians barred their children from going to school.

The two victims were shot around 10 am amid the intense ongoing conflict between the Myanmar military and insurgent groups in the border area, according to Khaleda Begum, a reserved seat councillor for the Ghumdhum union council.

The injured were identified as Tambru Camp Para residents Prabir Chandra and Rahima Begum, 50.

Rahima is the wife of former Ghumdhum union council member Dil Mohammad.

“The injured were transferred out of Bandarban for treatment by helicopter,” Khaleda said.

Locals say that since Sunday morning, the sounds of gunfire have been heard intermittently from across the Palangkhali border in Naikhongchhari and Cox's Bazar's Ukhiya. Residents on the Bangladesh side of the border are terrified and many in the Tumbru area closed shops and left their homes to move to a safe distance.

Teachers said that no students attended five government primary schools – Baishphari Government Primary School, Bhajabniya Government Primary School, Tambru Government Primary School, Paschimakul Government Primary School and South Ghumdhum Government Primary School - near the border on Sunday.

Helal Uddin, headmaster of Paschimakul Government Primary School, said, "The sound of heavy gunfire can be heard since the morning. The shelling continued until noon. No student came to school out of fear, but the teachers are all here."

When asked, district education officer Faridul Alam Hosseini said, "No student attended one of the Dakhil madrasas in the border area due to the shelling."

Bandarban Deputy Commissioner Shah Mojahid Uddin told reporters, "The BGB is monitoring the border situation. Local public representatives have been told about the school situation; they can make decisions according to the situation.”

Jahangir Aziz, chairman of Ghumdhum union council, said that the sound of sporadic gunfire from the Tumbru Right Pillar Camp area in Rakhine state across the border could be heard throughout Saturday afternoon and night.

In the morning news came that Arakan Army fighters had captured a Border Guard Police outpost in Myanmar during the night skirmishes. Some members of that outpost fled to Bangladesh and took shelter.

Although no BGB official spoke about the matter, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told, “There are about 14 of them. They are called BGP or Border Guard Police.”

“As you know, they have been fighting with the Arakan Army. At one point, they came here and took shelter. We are speaking to the Myanmar government about the matter.”

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, bullets fired from across the border hit an autorickshaw on the Tambru border road. The front glass of the autorickshaw was broken.

Locals say that the sound of gunshots and mortar shells in Myanmar has led to panic in some villages near the border. A portion of a mortar shell fired from Myanmar entered the house of Ilyas Hussain in Konarpara village.

Gafur Uddin, chairman of Palongkhali union council in Cox's Bazar's Ukhiya, said that the sound of heavy gunfire has been heard in the area adjacent to the border for two days.