Myanmar gathers troops near Bangladesh border

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Bangladesh has summoned the Myanmar ambassador amid military build-up at the other side of the border in Rakhine State.

The foreign ministry expressed concern over the development when Ambassador U Aung Kyaw Moe appeared on Sunday afternoon, said Delwar Hossain, the director-general of the ministry’s Myanmar Desk.

“We’ve asked him to convey the message to the proper authorities,” Delwar said.

Media have reported the suspicious movement of the Myanmar troops on fishing trawlers since early Friday morning.

Residents in Bangladesh are concerned after noticing the presence of the soldiers on the other side of the border.

Foreign ministry officials said the movement of troops may be part of Myanmar military’s ongoing conflict with the Arakan Army, who seek greater autonomy for the region.

One of the officials, requesting anonymity, said the government fears any further conflict at the border may trigger another exodus of Rohingya Muslims who live in Rakhine.

Bangladesh hosts more than 1 million Rohingya refugees, most of whom fled Myanmar in 2017 during a military operation dubbed ethnic cleansing in one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.

Bangladesh has tried to send the refugees back to their homeland but they refuse to return until their security and rights are guaranteed in Myanmar.

Officials said the foreign ministry also asked the ambassador to take steps for the repatriation of the Rohingya.

Amid the refugee crisis, the Arakan Army, which recruits mostly from the Buddhist majority, bolstered the fight for greater autonomy for the western region.

Recently, two Myanmar soldiers in statements made under the Arakan Army’s custody confessed to Rohingya killings.

The two soldiers were also reportedly transported to The Hague in the Netherlands, where they could appear as witnesses or face trial at the International Criminal Court.



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