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Myanmar boosts border security: Bangladesh

world Updated: Mar 17, 2009 14:15 IST
AFP
Myanmar

Military-ruled Myanmar has reinforced its border with Bangladesh, an official said on Tuesday, signalling renewed tensions between the neighbours after a dispute about a stretch of resource-rich sea.

"It looks as though they are preparing to build a fence today or tomorrow. We have told the authorities in Dhaka and they are on alert," Colonel Abdul Khaleque, of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) paramilitary border force, told AFP. He said Myanmar had also stationed more troops on the border.

The Dhaka-based English-language Daily Star, citing defence sources, said Myanmar had also sent "a number of China-made naval ships close to its maritime boundary with Bangladesh."

A tense stand-off between the countries, who share a 200-kilometre (125-mile) porous land border, flared in November when Myanmar escorted a South Korean exploration company into a disputed stretch of the Bay of Bengal.

Both countries deployed their navies to the waters, prompting high-level diplomatic contacts to prevent the situation from escalating dangerously.

Last month thousands of BDR guards staged a bloody mutiny in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, killing more than 70 people including 56 senior army officers, prompting India to tighten security on the border it shares with Bangladesh.

Illegal entry into Bangladesh by thousands of ethnic Muslim Rohingya people fleeing poverty, abuse and repression in western Myanmar every year is also a source of tension between the two countries.