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Bangladesh and Myanmar to seal border if Rohingya crisis recurs?

(Photo: AP)

By Adil Sakhawat
April 7, 2017

'If anything like that happens again, we will exchange information (and) we will base our security measures on what we know'

A top Bangladesh Border Guard official on Thursday said the border agencies of Bangladesh and Myanmar have resolved to shut all crossing points between the two countries if there is any repeat of the recent Rohingya refugee crisis.

Speaking to the press at the end of a six-day conference on Thursday, BGB Additional Director General Anisur Rahman said the two border authorities had agreed to exchange information and act when necessary to seal their shared border to stem any flow of illegal immigrants.

At the same press conference, however, when questioned again, the ADG appeared to back off from his assertion that the borders would be closed down.

Instead, he said: “With our stance of mutual cooperation, we had agreed to immediately communicate with the Myanmar border authorities in case something like this happens again and then close the borders to prevent the influx of illegal immigrants.”

He continued: “If anything like that happens again, we will exchange information (and) we will base our security measures on what we know,” ADG Anisur said.

The ADG said a large number of Rohingya had illegally entered Bangladesh from Rakhine state in Myanmar since a military crackdown began in October 2016.

“They fled because they were terrified of the constant persecution and oppression they were facing in their homeland. We explained our concerns to Myanmar and they said the situation had been resolved and the area was perfectly peaceful now,” he said.

The chief of the Myanmar Police Force (MPF), Brig Gen Myo Swe Win, stressed that the conditions in Myanmar were stable.

At the press briefing, the border agencies also revealed that countless land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) had been placed around the zero line along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Neither BGB nor MPF officials could clarify who placed the explosives, but they confirmed there had been casualties without giving exact numbers.

ADG Anisur and Brig Win agreed that it was imperative the explosives be removed.

BGB also expressed a concern about the drugs trafficked from Myanmar into Bangladesh and gave the MPF a fresh list of 49 possible yaba factories in Myanmar.

The next conference of the heads of the border agencies has been scheduled for November 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

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