BGB postpones sending team to Burma

Teknaf, Bangladesh: Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has postponed sending a team to Burma to bring back rescued Bangladeshi boatpeople and asked Burmese government for a detailed list of boatpeople with their identities, according to BGB sources. “Burmese government has claimed 208 of the migrants rescued on the high seas were Bangladesh nationals but Burma described its Rohingya community as ‘illegal Bengalis’ and tend to write them off as Bangladeshis.”

“We sent a letter to Burmese authorities asking them to send a detailed lists of the rescued migrants,” BGB’s sector commander of Cox’s Bazar, Col. Md. Khalekuzzaman told journalists.

The sector commander also said that the BGB wanted to be sure of the identity of migrants before anyone is brought back.

Responding to the call, Bangladesh prepared to send in an 11-strong BGB team on Sunday (May 24) to bring back the ‘migrants’ after discussions with Burma Border Guard Police(BGP), according to sources.

The team, led by Col. Khalekuzzaman, was waiting at Teknaf land port from 9:30 am yesterday but could not set off as the Burmese authorities did not hand over a detailed list of the migrants as asked for. A list of 200 migrants with names and districts was handed over to the BGB team, it was “incomplete”, sources more added.

The BGB official said they had sent the list to their Headquarters in Dhaka and asked the Burmese for a detailed list including full names of the migrants, their parents, age and address. The letter to Burma border police clarified BGB would bring back only “real Bangladesh nationals” after verification of their identities.

Hundreds of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis have landed in overcrowded boats on the shores of various Southeast Asian countries. Human smugglers have abandoned the boats bound for Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia because of crackdowns by the authorities.

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