Bangladesh has handed over a list of drug dealers to Myanmar who fled to the neighbouring country amid the ongoing nationwide anti-narcotics drive.
“We have handed over a list of those criminals to Myanmar and subsequently have negotiations and an understanding to take necessary action against them,” said Brig Gen Majibur Rahman, additional director general (operation and training) of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).
The BGB official, however, did not disclose the number and names in the list when he was speaking at a post-summit joint briefing at BGB headquarters in Pilkhana in the capital.
The four-day summit between BGB and Myanmar's Border Guard Police (BGP) ended yesterday, with both sides pledging to improve the frontier security.
The conference was held at a time when tension rose in the bordering areas as about 10 lakh Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution by Myanmar security forces since August 25 last year.
The Rohingya issue, however, was not discussed in the summit represented by an 11-member Myanmar delegation and 13 top officials of BGB, Prime Minister's Office, and foreign and home ministries from the host side.
Though Rohingyas took shelter in Bangladesh fearing adverse situation in Myanmar, some Teknaf-based top drug dealers, having good connections with their counterparts in Myanmar, fled to the country since the anti-narcotics drive began on May 4 in the country, said law enforcers.
At least 178 suspected drug dealers have been killed and thousands arrested in the crackdown. But the top drug barons in Cox's Bazar area, including lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi's cousin Mong Mong Sen and other relatives, are still out of the dragnet. Many of them too reportedly have fled to Myanmar.
The names of Bodi and several of Bodi's relatives, including Mong Mong, are in a list prepared by the home ministry.
In the briefing, Brig Gen Majibur said Bangladesh was following a zero tolerance policy against drugs, and Myanmar police said they were also carrying out anti-narcotic raids in their country as per their policy.
Myanmar is intensifying the drive further as their younger generation has been affected by drugs, said Majibur, quoting the Myanmar delegation.
Earlier this year, Dhaka handed Yangon a list of 49 yaba factories and the Myanmar authorities said they would “look into it”.
Officials at the home and foreign ministries earlier repeatedly said the Myanmar authorities had done nothing so far though they urged them to take effective steps to stop drug smuggling into Bangladesh.
Replying to a query, Majibur said Myanmar police claimed that their security forces never used mines and IEDs in the bordering areas.
But many Rohingyas who took refuge in Bangladesh recounted mine or IED explosions in the Myanmar territory when they were fleeing to Bangladesh.
Replying to a question, an official from Myanmar said, “There is no challenge to cooperate with each other because we have a long history of cooperation. We have a little bit of language barrier on the ground level but we will overcome very soon because we are going to establish a border liaison office soon.”
When a journalist pointed out the Rohingyas' allegation against BGP of killing and torture, Police Brigadier General Myo Than, chief of police general staff of Myanmar, who was leading the Myanmar delegation, angrily shouted “objection”.
Officials from the Bangladesh side then said the issue was out of agenda, while the Myanmar side said they talked about the security along the borders.
Lt Col Mahfuzer Rahman, director (operation) of the BGB, said both sides also agreed to sit in immediate talks in case of any shooting in the border, ensure smooth coordination in border patrol, share intelligence and information, especially in case of any helicopter operations near the border to avoid any confusion.
Besides, both sides decided that their forces would not cross the border without prior permission, he said.
BGB Additional Director General Brig Gen Anisur Rahman, who led the Bangladesh team, was also present at the briefing.
The next meeting between the two forces is expected in January next year in Myanmar.