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Myanmar returns dead BGB trooper

Staff Correspondent, BDNews24
June 01, 2014
Myanmar has returned the body of a border guard, missing since a border firing at Bandarban’s Naikhangchharhi.

Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed, the head of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), said the trooper missing since Wednesday was identified by a BGB team on Saturday evening.

“He was identified as our Nayek Md Mizanur Rahman.”

The 10-strong team completed all formalities to bring the body back at 6pm, he told reporters at BGB headquarters in Dhaka.

Earlier, Myanmar border police officer Tun Oo confirmed to Irrawaddy, a Myanmar news portal that a BGB personnel had been killed by his unit during the border skirmish.

“They told us last night that they would bring the body to the 52 border pillar between 11:00 to 11:30 am today (Saturday). They set the ground rule, saying ten of our men, led by a major, should meet ten of them,” said the BGB chief.

But Myanmar’s border police did not bring the body at the appointed hour on Saturday and “pressed for more negotiations” instead.

“Our team was allowed to cross the zero point a couple of hours ago. They were taken to the body.”

The BGB team asked the men handing over the body about the SMG and 120 rounds of ammunition Nayek Mizan was carrying.

“They said they were not with them at the moment, we have told the authorities (Myanmar) about this.”

Maj Gen Aziz said a commander-level meeting would be held on June 3 over this incident where the Myanmar side was expected to hand over Nayek Mizan’s weapons.

Tension has been building along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border since Wednesday night when Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) opened fire at BGB patrol teams at a Rohingya refugee camp near the border.

Nayek Mizan was missing ever since the firing and BGB officials said the BGP had been silent on the matter.

Later, the matter was taken by the foreign ministry, which summoned Myanmar’s ambassador in Dhaka Myo Myint Than on Thursday to protest the ‘illegal detention’ of the BGB personnel.

The BGP then said it had a body but did not confirm whether it was that of the missing trooper.

But BGB troopers again exchanged fire with the BGP at Bandarban’s Naikhangchharhi for 45 minutes, starting around 4pm Friday.

“The viewing was scheduled for 3:30pm Friday, but the BGP began firing at that time and the BGB fired back,” said Maj Gen Aziz.

Ambassador Myo Myint Than was again summoned on Saturday to protest the unprovoked firing on Friday. He was handed a ‘note verbale’ and asked to take immediate steps for the identification of the body that that BGP had said was with them.

Meanwhile, Irrawaddy quoted Tun Oo, a police colonel in Sittwe, Arakan State, who said: “One from the other side [Bangladesh] was killed by our police force when a clash broke out on May 28,”

The Myanmar news portal also said police in Arakan State’s Maungdaw Township told the Burmese media that the incident involved the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), a militant group that they alleged was based in Bangladesh.

“The killed man was said to be a RSO member,” Irrawaddy reported on Friday.

Myanmar’s RSO allegations

The BGB chief said Myanmar, in a recent flag meeting, alleged that Bangladesh was ‘harbouring’ members of the RSO who were crossing over to create trouble.

The RSO, formed around 1980, has been demanding Myanmar citizenship rights for Rohingyas. The country’s government identifies them as a militant organisation.

“We told them very clearly that there was no such organisation in Bangladesh and will never be.”

Maj Gen Aziz said he reiterated to the BGP the government’s stand against letting anyone use Bangladesh’s soil to plan or launch attacks against any sovereign state.

“We told them to give us information, if any, on where in Bangladesh the RSO is located or has set up camps … We will drive them out right away.”

He said the BGB, after the meeting, launched operations in collaboration with the army but did not find any RSO bases inside Bangladesh.