Mortars fired from Myanmar side of Bangladesh border kill Rohingya youth

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At least one Rohingya youth was killed and several young refugees injured when two mortar shells allegedly fired from Myanmar fell Friday night and exploded in no man’s land along Bangladesh’s southeastern border, Bangladesh police said.

The youths were all refugees from a no-man’s-land camp on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, additional Superintendent of Police (Sadar Circle) of Bandarban, Md. Reza Sarwar, to BenarNews. The incident came amid reports of heavy fighting on the Myanmar side of the border recently between Burmese junta forces and rebels in neighboring Rakhine state.

The police official said at least five injured Rohingya have been admitted to local hospitals. The youth who died in the incident was identified as Mohammad Iqbal, 18, son of Matlab Hossain.

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The grenades reportedly landed in an area bordering Bangladesh’s Bandarban district, Reza Sarwar added.

A Rohingya resident of the area, Dil Mohammad, said the grenades were fired around 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Another resident Md. Kamal agreed.

“Then two mortar shells ended up in no man’s land. And we heard shelling sounds from noon to night. People are scared around the neighborhood,” he told BenarNews.

Bangladeshi officials say more than 4,000 Rohingya refugees have lived in no man’s land in the past five years since a brutal crackdown by Myanmar’s military forced the ethnic minority to flee their homes in August 2017. About 740,000 Rohingya crossed the border and sought refuge. in camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh.

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Lieutenant Colonel Faizur Rahman, director (operations) of the Bangladesh Border Guard, told reporters that the agency immediately protested Friday’s incident to Myanmar’s Border Guard Police.

This was not the first time that fighting between rebels from the Arakan army and the Myanmar army in Myanmar had come close to the border with Bangladesh.

On August 28, during fierce fighting in Myanmar’s border state of Rakhine, two mortar shells landed in the same area but did not detonate. A similar incident also occurred on August 20.

This month alone, Dhaka has protested and summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to Bangladesh three times to protest these incidents.

Earlier this week, Bangladeshi Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the country’s border police have strengthened security along the border with Myanmar.

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Amid the tense situation in Myanmar, a few new Rohingya families have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, where Bangladesh is already hosting about a million refugees from Myanmar.

One of the newcomers told BenarNews on Sept. 10 that he saw “several hundred” people gathered along the Naf River that separates Cox’s Bazar from Rakhine State, trying to cross the border several days earlier.

It was not immediately clear what happened to those other people who had apparently been displaced by fierce clashes in recent weeks between the junta forces and the Arakan army.

BenarNews is a news service affiliated with the RFA.