An increased number of military and BGP forces have been amassing at the zero point of Taung Pyo, leading to panic among the stranded Rohingyas in the no-man’s land area as well as local Bangladeshi villagers.
Since Saturday night, a huge detachment of soldiers began to arrive in the area on heavy vehicles, almost all of them carrying automatic weapons. More troops arrived in the area on Sunday morning creating speculations that there might be violence in the coming nights. Since February, following the visit of a high level Burmese government delegation to the border area which insisted the Rohingya refugees had no right to stay there, troops had started threatening the Rohingyas.
Since then Myanmar has amassed a large number of troops in the border area (known as Taimbru in both Arakan and Bangladesh) since February leading to protests from the Bangladesh government as the regular military and a strongly armed border force is not normal between two neighbours.
Tensions increased dramatically in the last days of February and the early days of March when Myanmar after claiming jurisdiction over the no-man’s land area, placed ladders on their fences and tried to cross their border fence one night. They were driven back by brickbats hurled by Rohingyas and local Bengali villagers. In retaliation the Myanmar security forces fired shots in the direction of Bangladesh.
While tensions between Bangladesh and Myanmar decreased following a flag meeting, there has been growing unease as BGP maintained a hefty and well armed presence, and placed surveillance equipment on the fence, with reguar military forces on stand by. They have also been hurling brickbats and abuses in the nighttime threatening the Rohingyas with dire consequences if they don’t leave the border area.
Myanmar has claimed the military buildup in the area is not aimed at Bangladesh, but at ARSA rebels operating in the area. The claims have been thrashed by independent sources which confirm there is no ARSA presence among the stranded refugees.