Myanmar accuses Bangladesh of amassing troops along border

Myanmar accuses Bangladesh of amassing troops along border

The Myanmar government has accused the Bangladesh government of deploying troops along the common international border two weeks after Bangladesh drew the attention of the United Nations (UN) in relation to Myanmar’s deployment of troops near the border with Bangladesh through covert means.

Bangladeshi government officials vehemently denied any abnormal movement of regular armed forces troops along the border with Myanmar.

A report published by The Irrawaddy on Monday (28 September) said Myanmar’s army spokesman, Major General J Min Tun, had complained that the country’s security forces had recently stepped up patrols at the border “without disrupting bilateral military relations”.

“But now Bangladesh is gathering troops on the border,” complained Major General J Min Tun.

Citing several anonymous sources in the country’s security forces, the report said that since September 25, Bangladesh Army’s 10 Infantry Division has seen an increase in the number of troops.

The Irrawaddy’s unnamed sources alleged that the Bangladesh Army beefed up its position through “deployment of 155mm rocket launchers, man-portable air defence systems and anti-aircraft guns”.

The Bangladesh Army does not operate any “155mm rocket launchers” in the first place nor are those made anywhere else in the world.

Myanmar deployed over 2,5000 extra troops several weeks ago by transporting them on Myanmar Navy Landing Craft Utility (LCU) without informing the Bangladesh government. Under a joint agreement the two countries cannot deploy regular military personnel along the border however Myanmar never paid heed to such agreements in the past. They constructed bunkers disguised as rural homes all along the border with Bangladesh. Such fortified positions hold machine gun and mortar posts.

Myanmar’s ambassador to Bangladesh was summoned by the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh to relay the country’s strong objection to the troop’s deployments on the border. In response, the Bangladesh ambassador to Myanmar was summoned by the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and briefed that the exercise was “not threatening or intimidating”.

The Irrawaddy newspaper of Myanmar published a photo of BGB troops setting up an 82 mm mortar “on the Myanmar border” however the BGB said the photo was taken during a training exercise long ago.

Independent sources such as the BBC Bangla spoke to many local people, journalists and local administration from bordering Teknaf and Bandarban to verify the allegation of Myanmar.

The locals informed that BGB increased patrols along the border with Myanmar since that country deployed its regular troops two weeks ago. The BGB arranged patrols in all areas where there are no Border Observation Posts (BOP) to prevent intrusion from Myanmar.

Myanmar also alleged that Bangladesh sends arms across the border in to Myanmar. These have been proven to false.

The BBC News team could not verify any of Myanmar’s allegations to be true.

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