July 14, 2024, 8:31 pm

Shelling stops, warship moves away; fear still prevails at St Martin’s, Teknaf

  • Update Time : Saturday, June 15, 2024
  • 23 Time View
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Teknaf & Cox’s Bazar Correspondent:

The intermittent sound of firing of mortal shells and explosion of grenades around Maungdaw township in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, that left residents of Saint Martin’s Island and Teknaf reeling, has stopped. The residents of Teknaf and Saint Martin’s said they did not hear any explosion on the other side of the border between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon.

The Myanmar warship that was anchored in the estuary of Naf river could not be spotted since Friday evening.

Sabrang union parishad chairman Nur Hossain said, “People of Teknaf could not sleep the whole night of Thursday due to loud explosions on the other side of the border. However, no sound could be heard from Friday morning to 1:00pm on Saturday. We are on alert to ensure that none can intrude into Bangladesh crossing the border.”

Saint Martin’s union parishad chairman Mujibur Rahman also said no gunshots were heard since Friday morning but the residents of the island are still in shock.

Teknaf upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Adnan Chowdhury has confirmed that the warship has moved away from that place too after yesterday evening.

The islanders, ten thousand in total, are worried as to when they can travel to the mainland on Teknaf-Saint Martin’s route. The alternative route they are using to travel to and from Teknaf is dangerous.

Residents of the border area said that the warship of the Myanmar Navy, which had been anchored in Badar Mokam area of Shah Porir Dwip on the Teknaf-Saint Martin’s waterways for two days, had moved away from there. The warship was later anchored in the Naikkyangdia area inside Myanmar’s territory. Teknaf upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Adnan Chowdhury has confirmed that the warship has moved away from that place too after yesterday evening.

The UNO said no firing was heard from Friday morning to 1:00pm on Saturday. The shootings inside Myanmar are an internal matter of that country. However, service trawlers and speedboats inside Bangladesh were targeted by shooting from Myanmar as the large vessel took position in the Myanmar part of the Naf River. As a result, plying of trawlers and speedboats through this route has been stopped for the time being. But service trawlers will use the alternative sea route to Saint Martin’s.

The locals said there are Rohingya settlements in the areas across the border where the sounds of shelling were coming from.

Saiful Islam, a resident of Shah Porir Dwip, said that the situation is calmer than before. However, if a major conflict breaks out there, Bangladesh might see another Rohingya influx, he fears.

Abul Kalam, a shopkeeper in Shah Porir Dwip’s Bazarpara, said, “Sounds of gunshots have been heard here for several days. As a result, the panic among the people living on the border areas is yet to dissipate.”

“I could fish using casting nets on the char of Naf river but could not do so due to the tensions on the other side of the border. I’m now struggling to run the family,” said Nur Alam, a local fisherman.

Nur Alam, a local fisherman, said, “I could fish using casting nets on the char of Naf river but could not do so due to the tensions on the other side of the border. I’m now struggling to run the family.”

Sources from the border area said that the insurgent group Arakan Army has been fighting with Myanmar Army for three and half months. The Arakan Army has recently taken control of two townships on the north and south-east of Maungdaw, 14 border outposts of Myanmar’s frontier force Border Guard Police (BGP), several thanas and police outposts in Rachidong-Buthidaung. The Arakan Army is now fighting to take control of Maungdaw.

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