Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) on Saturday asked the Rohingya refugees, living in a no-man’s land along the Tombru border point in Bandarban district in Bangladesh, to leave the area.
“Since 8:00 am, in the loudspeaker announcements BGP is saying that residing in the no-man’s land is illegal, the Rohingya people who are staying there should leave,” Mohammad Arif Hossain, a local community leader was quoted by Daily Star Bangladesh as saying.
The Deputy Commander of Cox’s Bazar BGB 34-Battalion Major Iqbal Ahmed also confirmed the development.
Meanwhile, Jahir Ahmad, principal of Ghumdum Government Primary School slammed the BGP’s statement, calling it “highly-objectionable.”
“The BGP is terming the Rohingya people living in the no-man’s land as Bengalis which is highly objectionable,” Ahmad said.
In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.
The process, which was supposed to start from January 22 was delayed as some critics of the deal voiced concerns over the lack of security guarantees for those who would return.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar. They have been regarded by many majority Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
More than 700,000 Rohingyas are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar military campaign launched in August last year.
The United Nations (UN) had said the scorched-earth operation, which had left hundreds of villages burned to ash in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, amounted to ‘ethnic cleansing’.
There are more than 3,00,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, who fled in earlier waves of violence from Myanmar since the last three decades.