DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladeshi border guards clashed with a group of illegal migrants who had crossed from neighboring Myanmar on Friday, before deporting 136 of them, including women and children.
A local commander from the paramilitary Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) unit, Colonel Mohammad Khalekuzzaman, said the migrants were from Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community, a mostly stateless minority living in often grim conditions.
According to Khalekuzzaman, at least 300 Rohingya crossed from Myanmar into Bangladesh and were making their way by road to the Kutupalong refugee camp near the town of Cox’s Bazar when they were stopped at a BGB checkpoint set up after a tip-off.
“A group of Rohingya, along with local residents, opened fire and threw stones at us,” said Khalekuzzaman, adding that BGB guards fired warning shots in response. One guard received a gunshot wound and was taken to a hospital in Cox’ Bazar.
Some of the migrants fled and were assumed to have taken shelter with local residents, Khalekuzzaman said, while the 136 who were captured were sent back to Myanmar.
Thousands of Rohingya have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since religious violence there in 2012, some of them falling into the hands of human traffickers who routinely hold them in remote camps in Thailand and demand ransom for their release.
Cox’s Bazar lies close to the Myanmar border, some 400 km (250 miles) southeast of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
Reporting by Serajul Quadir and Mohammad Nurul Islam from; Cox's Bazar; Editing by Mike Collett-White