Twelve Burmese nationals pushed back to Burma

Naikhyangchari, Bangladesh: Twelve Burmese nationals were pushed back to Burma by Bangladesh Rifles and police on September 11 through the Chakdhala border under Naikhyangchari upazila in Bandarban.
The Burmese nationals entered Bangladesh from Burma illegally in the last week of August 2009 to escape persecution by the ruling military junta and for staying in Selami village under Naikhyangchari upazila. They were arrested on August 10, when the Bangladesh border force conducted raids to drive out of intruders, according to local sources in Naikhyangchari.

The Burmese nationals were identified as Mubarak Ali, (67) Ayesha Begum (39), Fatema Khatun (12) Jonefa Begum (14) Jafar Alam (50) Sajeda Begum (40), Ashek Tara (18), Saiful Alam (12), Mohammad Rashid (20), Mohammad Saifuddin (9) Umme Maleka (8) and Habiba Begum (6).

Most Burmese nationals come to Bangladesh from Burma for medical check-up and some people flee to Bangladesh from Burma because of persecution by the junta.

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Two Rohingya women tortured in Nasaka camp

Maungdaw, Burma: Two Rohingya women were tortured to confess and to get a signed confession that their husband had fled to Bangladesh by Nasaka personnel from Inn Din camp under Nasaka sector number 8 of Maundaw Township on September 7, said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.
Their husbands were arrested by Nasaka on August 30, on the allegation of repairing a Mosque. With no evidence of repairs the Nasaka released them wanting to arrest them again with evidence. So Nasaka planned to get signed confession letters from their wives that their husbands fled to Bangladesh, he said.

The women are identified as Zahida Begum (26) wife Kabir Ahamed and Rahena Begum (32), wife of Shafique Ahamed, hailing from Koolong village tract of Maungdaw Township.

On September 7 and 8, Nasaka personnel arrested Zahida and Rehena from their homes and took them to the Inn Din Nasaka camp and asked when their husbands went to Bangladesh and wanted a written confession, but they refused, said a villager.

When they refused to give the confession, the Nasaka personnel started torturing them in the camp till evening. When they could not take the suffering from the torture, they signed the confession letters the Nasaka personnel wanted. Later they were released without any bribe, the villager said.

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Relief distributes in unofficial lada refugees camp

Teknaf, Bangladesh: The Islamic Relief (UK), the managing group in Lada unregistered camp, distributed relief materials in the Lada Burmese refugee unofficial camp, in Cox’s Bazaar district of Bangladesh yesterday, said Hakim from the camp.

The Islamic Relief (UK) provided three items— 8 kgs of rice, 2 kgs of chickpea and one litter of oil per family, he added.

When asked Sayeda a woman refugee said that she as well as other refugees are very happy to receive relief from Islamic Relief (UK) given their need for food.

They provided rations to 2100 families in the camp but did not receive any support from any other quarter in the ongoing month of Ramadan except this relief, said Salim another refugee from the camp.

Over 10,000 Rohingyas are living in Lada camp without government or UN assistance. The government and UNHCR are not providing food and shelter.

“We have been facing many difficulties in supporting our family members. We do not find sufficient work out of the camp and have been facing many problems when we go out of the camp,” said Noor Hakim from the camp.

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Take Myanmar’s Military Ambition Seriously, Says BIPPS

Narinjara News
Dhaka: Bangladesh needs to take the issue of Myanmar’s reinforced military presence along the border more seriously, in order to safeguard its national security, The Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) was reported as saying in a 12 September article in the Independent.

The BIPSS is a think-tank that deals with security issues in South and Southeast Asia. It recently issued a publication suggesting that there are many contentious issues with neighboring Myanmar that need to be resolved to protect the national interest.

Such issues as the Rohingya refugees and the dispute over the maritime boundary have daunted relations between the two neighbors recently, said an article published in the periodical BIPSS Focus.

The article said that Myanmar’s recent strengthening of its military presence in Rakhine State, which borders Bangladesh, is a big concern.

“Bangladesh needs to take Myanmar’s recent military ambition seriously,” the article, titled “Bangladesh-Myanmar Relations: The Security Dimension” stated. The article points out that Myanmar has increased movement of troops while construction of concrete pillars and barbed-wire fences along the border has been sped up.

The military junta in Myanmar has also extended the runway of the Sittwe airport, enabling operation of MiG-29 multi-role combat aircraft and all 12 MiG-29 aircraft of the Myanmar Air Force currently deployed in Sittwe, the article stated. Land has also been acquired for the construction of another airport in Buthidaung, it adds.

The BIPSS says that massive repair and reconstruction of road, bridges, and culverts is being carried out in the Western Command area while tanks, artillery guns, Recoilless Rifles, and mortars are being unloaded regularly at the Buthidaung river jetty.

Saying that such developments are “alarming” for Bangladesh, the BIPSS article adds that Myanmar has been constructing barbed-wire fencing along the border with Bangladesh since March 2009, and approximately 38 kilometers of fencing was completed by July of this year.

Considering all these issues, the article states, “It is observed that Bangladesh – Myanmar relations have developed through phases of cooperation and conflict.”

“Conflict in this case is not meant in the sense of confrontation, but only in the sense of conflict of interests and resultant diplomatic face-off,” it says.

The article further warns that “unfriendly relations with Myanmar can benefit small insurgent groups living in the hilly jungle areas of the southern portion of the Chittagong Hill Tract, which can cause some degree of instability in the area and become a serious concern for national security.”

The article also suggests that Bangladesh can benefit in ways by maintaining a good relationship with Myanmar, which in turn has a good friendship with China.

“[Myanmar] is the potential gateway for an alternative land route opening towards China and Southeast Asia other than the sea,” it says. “Such a road link has the potentiality for a greater communication network between Bangladesh and Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.”

Moreover, with a rich natural resource base, Myanmar is a country with considerable potential, the article continued. “Myanmar’s forests and other natural resources like gas, oil, and stones are enormous, from which Bangladesh can be benefited enormously,” it says.

The article suggests that policymakers review the existing defense priorities to suit the magnitude of the threat currently facing Bangladesh.

“The policy regarding Myanmar needs to be a careful combination of effective diplomacy while safeguarding our security interests,” it said.

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