Monday 5, June 2023

300 families to be relocate from Ghumdhum

Time Digital News: Amid continuous gunfire and mortar shelling in Myanmar close to the Bangladesh border, the local administration is planning to evacuate around 300 families in Ghumdhum union of Bandarban's Naikhongchhari upazila.

At least 1,500 members of the families live at Betbunia, Baishfari, Tambru, Konarpara and Reju Amtoli of Ghumdhum.

The plan to move them to safety was discussed at an emergency meeting held at the office of upazila nirbahi officer around 11:30am yesterday, Jahangir Aziz, Ghumdhum union Parishad chairman told.

But relocating so many families would be difficult as there is no shelter home in Ghumdhum and the condition of local schools is also not good, he said without giving any timeframe for a possible evacuation.

The closed-door meeting was attended by members of intelligence agencies, BGB and police and other union parishad representatives.

"We have discussed the strategies to keep our people in the bordering areas safe," said Naikhongchhari UNO Salma Ferdous. "Many proposals were discussed at the emergency meeting and we sent those to higher authorities for a decision."

The local administration has asked the public representatives and law enforcers to ensure safety of the residents, she added.

Regarding this, Yasmin Parvin Tibriji, deputy commissioner of Bandarban, said the government is giving top priority to the safety of the locals.

"We are taking decisions holding meetings with law enforcers and public representatives," she added.

The BGB presence has already been beefed up at the major border points along Myanmar. Patrolling has also been increased and the BGB members are not allowing outsiders for any movement, according to local sources.

"We are on high alert. Locals have also been asked to stay alert," said Lt Col Faizur Rahman, director (operations) of BGB.

Over the past few weeks, Myanmar military reportedly continued its air and ground assaults against the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed organisation based in Rakhine state.

The situation got worse Friday night after a Rohingya youth was killed and five others, including two children, were injured as a mortar shell fired from Myanmar side exploded at a Rohingya camp on no-man's land near Tambru Bazar.

Mohamamd Alam, ward-3 member of Ghumdhum Union Parishad, said they heard continuous gunshots from Saturday night till 8:00am yesterday. The source was Methay area in Maungdaw of Myanmar, just opposite of No 35 and No 36 border pillars.

"This prompted us to evacuate 30 families from Konarpara village, who live near the zero line," he told yesterday.

Locals also said they heard explosions again around 9:30am and then again 8:00pm yesterday.

"We are not getting any scope to take care of our crop properly for the last few weeks for the ongoing tension at the border. Now we are being told to move to safety. Who will take care of our crops?" said Borhan Aziz, a resident of Tambru Bazar area.

"If the crops get damaged, what will our family members eat?"

Questioned about this, Mohammad Alam said the families were asked to move but it is not anything permanent. They will be able to return once the situation is normal.

Besides, the family may visit their homes to oversee their cattle in the daytime, depending on the situation, he added.

Apart from locals, Rohingyas living in the camp on no-man's land are passing days in panic.

Dil Mohammed, chairman of the Rohingya camp's management committee, said they were trying to stay in a safer place outside the camp at night in fear of further firing.

"Myanmar is intentionally doing this to kill us. If this continues, we will seek the United Nation's intervention to ensure our safety," he said.


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