To prevent return of Rohingya Muslims, Myanmar lays landmines near Bangladesh border

Myanmar: Myanmar has been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh, officials in Dhaka have said. The government sources have said that the purpose may have been to prevent the return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing military violence.

Over 146,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing western Myanmar Rakhine state have crossed the border into Bangladesh till now.

Bangladesh summoned the Myanmar ambassador on Wednesday to raise concerns about reports of landmines being laid along the border between the two countries.

According to a report published by CNN, a senior Bangladeshi border guard was quoted as saying that two Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar were injured by separate landmines on Monday. Adding that a woman lost her leg and a boy also suffered injuries.

Various other sources report that Myanmar is “putting the landmines in their territory along the barbed-wire fence” between a series of border pillars and that Bangladesh learned about the landmines mainly through photographic evidence and informers.

Myanmar is one of the world’s most heavily mined countries after decades of conflict between the military and various ethnic rebel groups. It is also one of the few countries that haven’t signed the 1997 UN Mine Ban Treaty.

A Myanmar military source told the BBC that they have not mined any area of the 135 mile long border with Bangladesh recently.

More than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are seen as illegal immigrants in the mainly Buddhist country. They have been forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.

According to a statement published by Myanmar’s government, at least 414 people have been killed in violence in Rakhine State in recent weeks.

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