Myan­mar de­nies al­le­ga­tion of bor­der shoot­ing

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

YAN­GON: Myan­mar on Satur­day de­nied al­le­ga­tions of a cross-bor­der shoot­ing that raised ten­sions with Bangladesh ahead of a sched­uled start date for the repa­tri­a­tion of Ro­hingya refugees.

The fresh diplo­matic row started af­ter a Bangladesh bor­der guard of­fi­cial said that a 15-year-old Ro­hingya refugee was shot in the el­bow on Novem­ber 4 while graz­ing cows af­ter mul­ti­ple rounds were fired from a se­cu­rity post across the de­mar­ca­tion line.

Bangladesh sum­moned Myan­mar’s am­bas­sador to lodge a protest but Aung San Suu Kyi’s gov­ern­ment says it has looked into the al­le­ga­tion and de­nies it ever hap­pened.

“The Myan­mar am­bas­sador promptly con­tacted the re­spon­si­ble of­fi­cials from the Myan­mar Bor­der Guard, who con­firmed that no shoot­ing in­ci­dent had taken place,” the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, which is over­seen by Suu Kyi, said in a state­ment late Satur­day.

Myan­mar says it was in­volved in co­or­di­nated pa­trols at the time of the al­leged in­ci­dent with Bangladeshi forces along the Naf River that sep­a­rates the two coun­tries, and that none of their coun­ter­parts men­tioned the claim.

“A for­mal protest through diplo­matic chan­nels based on du­bi­ous re­ports, as took place in this case, does not serve any use­ful pur­pose,” the min­istry added.

The con­tentious back and forth high­lights the del­i­cacy sur­round­ing a planned start to the first of­fi­cial repa­tri­a­tion of Ro­hingya Mus­lims to Myan­mar, which is sup­posed to start Novem­ber 15 with over 2,000 peo­ple at a rate of 150 daily. Some 720,000 Ro­hingya fled their homes in Myan­mar to take refuge in Bangladesh fol­low­ing a sweep­ing and bloody crack­down on the Mus­lim mi­nor­ity in Au­gust 2017.

United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tors say Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary should be in­ves­ti­gated for geno­cide as a re­sult of the cam­paign, which wit­nesses say in­cluded scorched earth tac­tics, rape and mur­der.

Myan­mar and Bangladesh agreed to repa­tri­ate Ro­hingya ex­pelled in the re­cent mil­i­tary cam­paign, but they fear re­turn­ing to a coun­try with­out guar­an­tees of cit­i­zen­ship, safety and ba­sic rights.

North­ern Rakhine has been un­der­go­ing mas­sive re­de­vel­op­ment in their ab­sence and Ro­hingya ad­vo­cates say the process amounts to an ef­fort to erase their his­tory for good.

- File photo

FLEE­ING TO SAFETY: Ro­hingya refugees are re­flected in rain wa­ter along an em­bank­ment next to paddy fields af­ter flee­ing from Myan­mar into Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

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