Yangon, Dhaka agree to avoid border clashes

June 13, 2014 - 8:08:22 am

YANGON:  Myanmar and Bangladeshi authorities yesterday vowed to strengthen border security and combat “illegal armed groups and criminals” following clashes on their shared frontier that Dhaka said left one of its soldiers dead.

The neighbours said they would take measures to avoid a repeat of “untoward” incidents in May, which saw gunfire exchanged between both countries’ security forces, the Myanmar Police and Border Guard Bangladesh said in a joint statement.

The unrest comes amid Myanmar assertions that an insurgent group claiming links to the Rohingya Muslim minority had started to operate in the area.

Waves of sectarian conflict two years ago in Rakhine state, on the Myanmar side of the border, left the region largely segregated on religious grounds.

Myanmar provided information about the activities of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) “inside the territory of Bangladesh which are detrimental to peace and stability along the border areas,” according to the statement.

Bangladesh also affirmed it “always show zero tolerance on the issue of miscreants/illegal armed groups”.

The US State Department says the RSO was active on the border in the early 1990s after a Myanmar military crackdown that caused tens of thousands of Rohingya to flee into Bangladesh.

But experts say it has long been viewed as a defunct armed force.

“They are not a new group,” a senior police official said, adding that the RSO were viewed as “extremists”.                         AFP