We’ll open fire to stop arms, drug smuggling: FM

The Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh will begin firing at the Myanmar border to stop drugs and arms trafficking and human trafficking.

"We had decided never to open fire at the border. But I had a discussion with the home minister today [Monday] about the current situation at the border and decided that we will open fire in future. Only then crimes like human trafficking or drugs and arms smuggling will stop," said the minister.

Minister was speaking to reporters after attending a program at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital this early in the morning.

Momen claimed that 2 lakh Rohingyas travelled to Bangladesh in 1982. They were repatriated after talks. "In 1992, another 2.53 lakh Rohingyas arrived and 2.36 lakh of them returned while others were taken away by UNHCR [relocated from Bangladesh]. This time [the last influx since August 2017] the number is bigger -- 11 lakh."

In reference to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's speech that he delivered on Monday, the prime minister stated "We are discussing repatriation. However, a number of international agencies talk about rehabilitation for the long term. There hasn't been any conflict in Rakhine in the last four years, yet the agencies don't discuss repatriation. What they discuss is making sure they are in good condition as well as their rights as human beings in this country.

"They [agencies] are raising absurd demands like giving Rohingyas the right to buy land, giving them employment opportunities and proper schooling. But these are not acceptable. Their [agencies'] intention is that if they [Rohingyas] stay here, their [agencies'] jobs will be there for an extended period. They are receiving a lot of money from around the world, and we don't know how that money is being spent," Minister said.

Concerning the murder of Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah at the Cox's Bazar camp, Momen stated that he was a well-educated man, and his sole goal was to go home.

"He used to say they have no future here and must go back home [Myanmar] for a better future. It's sad that he was killed. We want to investigate the incident to identify the killers and they must be punished."

At an open press conference held at Gono Bhaban on Monday, PM Hasina stated that keeping Rohingyas in Bangladesh is apparently an enterprise for certain organizations.

"I'm very sorry to say it seems that keeping Rohingyas has become a business to some organisations. If they [Rohingya] are not here, they [NGO officials] will lose jobs," she said.

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