DHAKA, Feb 6, 2019 : Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said Bangladesh almost sealed off its borders with Myanmar amid fresh influx against the backdrop reported military clampdown in Rakhine state, this time Buddhists and Hindus being its victims.
“We can’t take anymore (new nationals from Myanmar). The border with Myanmar is almost sealed off,” Momen said as he talked to newsmen after his separate meetings with UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener and Hollywood superstar and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie.
Momen added that Bangladesh by now allowed enough of the influx opening the border “now it’s better if others (other countries) open their frontiers for them (refugees)”.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), meanwhile, said they sent a detachment to enforce a vigil in the remote frontiers with Myanmar in Bandarban’s Ruma area while police said 150 Myanmar nationals in 38 mostly Buddhist families crossed the border.
“We have sent a detachment to Ruma frontiers to enforce a stringent vigil against fresh influx . . . the borders with Myanmar remained sealed off while only legal movement is underway through the Ukhia and Teknaf frontiers,” BGB’s region commander Brigadier General Ainul Morshed Khan told.
Bandarban’s acting police super Mohammad Kamruzzaman said 38 mostly Buddhist families sneaked into Bangladesh in view of the “internal conflict” in Rakhine state while reports suggested fighting between the Myanmar military and rebel Arakan Army forced hundreds to flee their home.
The foreign minister acknowledged the report saying “we have heard that different ethnic and religious groups including Buddhists and Hindus, this time apart from Muslims (Rohingyas), are trying to enter Bangladesh amid fresh violence in Myanmar”.
About his meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy, the Momen said he told him that Bangladesh was upset seeing that instead of mounting pressures, some big countries still kept “all kinds of bilateral relations including trade with Myanmar”.
He said Myanmar created the crisis while “we want its peaceful solution. But they didn’t advance that much (to resolve the crisis). We are very disappointed”.
Referring Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s early proposal, the foreign minister also told the envoy that Myanmar should agree on a safe zone under the supervision of ASEAN in Rakhine for Rohingyas.
The minister said Bangladesh is always hopeful that Rohingyas would return to their motherland safely with dignity.