Time Digital News: Myanmar has laid the blame on the Arakan Army and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Group (ARSA) for the recent incidents of cross-border shelling during a meeting with Bangladesh's ambassador in Yangon, reports.
On Monday, U Zaw Phyo Win, a top official at Myanmar's foreign ministry, called in Ambassador Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury to clarify the situation at the border amid rising tensions.
Reports coming out of Myanmar suggest a full-blown armed conflict has broken out between the country’s military, officially known as Tatmadaw, and the Arakan Army, insurgents fighting for self-determination for ethnic minorities in Rakhine state, also home to over a million Rohingya who have taken refuge in Bangladesh.
The armed struggle has raged on for the last three weeks and intensified recently after the rebels killed 19 junta police officers and captured a police outpost in Maungdaw Township near the border.
The heavy fighting along the border recently resulted in casualties in Bangladesh, prompting Dhaka to summon the Myanmar envoy on four separate occasions in the space of a month to lodge protests.
Phyo Win, the director-general of the foreign ministry's Strategic Studies and Training Department, told Manjurul that the AA and ARSA, deemed a terrorist group by Myanmar, attacked a border outpost with mortars on Sept 16, with three shells landing inside Bangladeshi territory.
The insurgents used the same weapons to attack another outpost on Sept 16 and 17, which saw nine mortar shells being fired across the border into Bangladesh, he added.
According to Phyo Win, the rebels have been deliberately carrying out such attacks to put a strain on the cordial bilateral relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Myanmar is taking the necessary security measures close to the border with utmost caution and it is mindful of bilateral agreements and international norms as it respects the integrity and sovereignty of all nations, including Bangladesh, he said.
The director general expressed Myanmar's willingness to work with Bangladesh to maintain tranquillity along the border and stressed the significance of "full and reciprocal cooperation" in that regard.
He added that Dhaka had been informed about the trenches and bases of the AA and ARSA located inside Bangladeshi territory through diplomatic channels on Sept 7, while reiterating Myanmar’s call to take necessary and immediate action to investigate and dismantle those structures and bases.
On Sept 16, a Rohingya teenager was killed and several others injured when a mortar fired from Myanmar hit a refugee settlement on no-man's land. A Bangladeshi man was also injured in a ‘mine’ explosion near the border in Bandarban's Ghumdhum.
On Aug 28, two mortar shells from the military-ruled country also landed in Bangladeshi territory, prompting Dhaka to summon the Myanmar envoy in Bangladesh to issue a strong statement condemning the action.
The border strikes have been keeping residents of the Bandarban frontiers on edge for several weeks.
Earlier this month, Myanmar military aircraft and helicopters also crossed the border into Bangladesh and opened fire.
Bangladesh has since moved to tighten security on the border with Myanmar, with the government stating it will raise the issue with the United Nations if the shelling continues.