Bangladesh Border Chief Demands Rohingya Return to Myanmar

By Muktadir Rashid   8 January 2020

Dhaka – The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief, Major General Shafeenul Islam, has held talks with his counterparts from Myanmar saying the ongoing presence of Rohingya refugees will disturb security on both sides of the border. 

The BGB director-general said: “There are 1.1 million refugees from Myanmar. It is fertile ground for terrorists from the Myanmar side. The drug trade grows and may fund groups inside Myanmar. Groups can recruit members there. We highlighted those issues. The sooner they go back the better or they will continue to affect security along the border.”

The director-general held a joint press conference with Myanmar’s Police Brigadier General Myoe Than, who led an eight-member delegation to the border conference.

The BGB chief said there was a proposal to erect a border fence with a priority on vulnerable areas where “yaba” or methamphetamines were being smuggled.  

A joint statement said the BGB chief expressed deep concern about drug smuggling, including yaba, from Myanmar.

He called for real-time information sharing and frequent interaction to stop human trafficking, illegal border crossing and the drug trade.

The statement said Bangladesh’s representatives proposed a border road and cooperation to remove mines and home-made bombs along the frontier. 

Brig-Gen Myoe Than, chief of police general staff, also expressed his concern about cross-border crime and called for concerted efforts to address the issues, adding that drugs were causing the same problems in Myanmar. 

“He promised full cooperation,” the joint statement said.

Bangladesh agreed to maintain its “zero-tolerance” policy towards drugs and psychotropic substances, especially yaba, along the border.

“Both sides agreed to cooperate in fighting transnational crime, arms smuggling, human trafficking, goods smuggling and terrorism,” the statement said. 

They also agreed to prevent unauthorized access within 50 meters of the border. 

Both sides said they would immediately inform each other about any shooting incident and return nationals after a disaster, inadvertent border crossing or the completion of a jail term.

The sharing of real-time information would help find amicable solutions to border-related problems and both sides would carry out coordinated patrols to strengthen security and law enforcement, the statement said. 

They said they agreed to confidence-building measures, including friendly games, sports and cultural exchanges between personnel. 

The next border conference is due in May or June.

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