By Times Headline Writer
Bangladesh has expressed “great concern” over the ongoing crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where a military operation against “extremist jihadists” has triggered a humanitarian emergency.
The foreign office has handed a formal letter to Myanmar asking the authorities to intervene so that the Rohingya Muslims fleeing the conflict-zone can return to their homes.
In a meeting with Myo Myint Than, Myanmar’s envoy in Dhaka, the foreign office has requested Myanmar to take immediate steps to take back the Rohingyas already entered Bangladesh recently, sources said.
Additional Foreign Secretary Kamrul Ahsan later told reporters that Bangladesh is looking forward to a peaceful resolution of the ongoing crisis.
Tension has been rife on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border after militants allegedly linked to Aqa Mul Mujahidin group launched attacks on Myanmar’s border police and the army, resulting in the deaths of a dozen law enforcers early this month. The Myanmar Army has since been conducting operations in Rakhine, home for the country’s over a million Rohingya people. Meanwhile, the local commanders of the Bangladesh Border Guard and Myanmar Border Police held a meeting in Cox’s Bazar, a border town, on Wednesday to discuss migration and security issues.
Local media reported that hundreds of Rohingyas were now floating in boats in the Naaf river, struggling to enter Bangladesh territory. Bangladesh has already tightened its border security by deploying more personnel to prevent a further influx of Rohingyas as officials say the country already hosts a large number such refugees from Myanmar.
Despite tight security, many Rohingya families have entered Bangladesh along river routes after the latest crisis broke out. In some cases, the border security guards pushed them back after giving humanitarian assistance. The UNHCR on November 18 urged Bangladesh to keep its border with Myanmar open for the Rohingyas.