Bangladesh and Myanmar at odds over deadly border clash

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 1:51am

Bangladesh has lodged a protest with Myanmar over what it called an unprovoked attack against its border guards by Myanmar security forces on Friday, following an earlier exchange of fire in which a Bangladeshi guard was killed.

Myanmar has given a different version of events and has warned Bangladesh it will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty or territory.

Major General Aziz Ahmed, head of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), said that a body handed over by the Myanmar side was that of guard Mizanur Rahman, 43, who had gone missing last Wednesday.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said it had called in Myanmar's ambassador to protest at an "unprovoked eruption of gunfire from the Myanmar border force" on Friday.

"The Myanmar ambassador was told that a BGB team was waiting near border pillar No52 for identification of the dead body which was proposed by the Myanmar side. However, to the complete surprise of the BGB, Myanmar border forces suddenly started firing on the waiting BGB team without any provocation," it said.

Myanmar's foreign ministry said that incident last Thursday involved Myanmar troops and "two suspected armed Bengalis in yellow camouflage uniform who entered into Myanmar territory" in Maungdaw township. One was killed and the other fled into Bangladesh, it said.

Many in Myanmar, including government officials, use the term "Bengali" to refer to Rohingya people, hundreds of thousands of whom live in the northwestern state of Rakhine.

They are seen by Myanmar as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They are denied citizenship and increasingly live in segregated camps after outbreaks of communal violence over the past two years.