Four border guard police officers were killed and another wounded after a clash with an armed group along the Burma-Bangladesh border in Maungdaw Township, northern Arakan State, on Saturday, local authorities say.
A state government spokesman told The Irrawaddy that the attackers’ identity was unknown, and that the presence of local border security forces and military personnel had been bolstered in the wake of the attack.
“We don’t have a plan to talk with the Bangladeshi government regarding these attacks as we don’t know who the assailants are,” said Win Myaing, the Arakan State government spokesman, adding that such incidents were not uncommon for the western border region.
A total of seven police officers, from border post Nos. 52 and 53, were on patrol when the attack took place. Two police officers who had initially gone missing following the ambush were found unharmed on Sunday and the bodies of the deceased have been recovered.
Police inspector Nway Oo Maung was wounded in the attack and is receiving treatment at Maungdaw hospital, a Maungdaw district police officer on duty said.
The officer on duty claimed that the border guard personnel were victims of an ambush by members of the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) while they were patrolling near border post No. 52, though that allegation could not be independently verified.
“The situation on Monday is stable in the area,” the officer told The Irrawaddy.
On the morning of May 13, two people were killed in a separate attack at border post No. 39, police Col. Shwe Than told The Irrawaddy last week, saying the armed men had retreated across the Bangladesh border afterward.
He said he suspected that the attackers were members of the Bangladesh-based RSO because the organization is the only armed group in the area, aside from the Burma and Bangladesh governments’ border forces. The RSO is a militant group founded in the 1980s, though its reach and combat capabilities are subject to debate.
On May 3, four civilians were killed by an unknown armed group that allegedly came from across the border. Those slain in that attack were the Thinbawkwae village administrator Zaw Kawria and three of his family members in Maungdaw.
At the Bangladesh border, fencing is being carried out by Burmese soldiers and police, but local residents have told The Irrawaddy that they are worried about their security due to the perceived inadequacy of the border fence’s deterrent capability.
In November 2012, three Burmese Army soldiers were allegedly abducted in the area, prompting the Burmese government to temporarily seal the border at the Maungdaw crossing.
Additional reporting by Khin Oo Tha.