Dhaka – A fresh waves of attacks and counter-attack in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine state has intensified yet another round of influx of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as tens of thousands others fled persecution at their homes last year, officials said on Friday.
Bangladeshi border guard soldiers, who were alerted earlier, pushed back a boat-load of minority Muslins to Myanmar when they were trying to cross into Bangladesh following violence in Rakhine state.
A total of 146 people were pushed back to Myanmar, said Lieutenant Colonel Ariful Islam, commanding officer of Border Guard Bangladesh at Teknaf.
“We have been alert for the last couple of days as the situation in Rakhine state was deteriorating,” the commanding officer said.
At least 12 people have been killed in a gunfight between the Rohingya militants and Myanmar police early on Friday, according to Burmese media reports.
The Myanmar government said that the insurgents launched coordinated attacks on 24 police post in the conflict-ridden Rakhine state leaving seven policemen killed. The police also launched a counter-offensive killing five insurgents, a statement issued by the government said on Friday.
The statement said that the militants attacked the posts in Maungdaw at the dead of night. They used hand grenades, the statement said.
Bangladeshi security officials said that they received information from across the border that an anti-insurgency clampdown has been launched by the Burmese police soon after the attack.
The insurgent’s attack came after a high-level commission formed by the former UN secretary general Kofi Anan released the report on violence last year that left many people killed and thousands others displaced.
More than 75,000 Rohingya Muslims- men, women and children- crossed the border and took shelter in Bangladesh’s south-eastern Cox’s Bazar district as the Burmese military launched a so-called anti-insurgency clampdown following an attack on a police post in October last year.
The attack left nice security officers killed.
Despite Bangladesh initially sealed the border, later allowed the influx of the stateless people to take shelter on its land. The refugees have been living in squalid slums in Kutupalong, where more than 30,000 registered Rohingya have been staying since 1990s, and its adjoining areas. United Nations High Commission for Refugees and International Organisation for Migration have been taking limited care of the newly arrived refuges.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister recently said that more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh. She asked Myanmar for early initiative to resolve the Rohingya problem and repatriate those refuges.