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Bangladesh Requests Myanmar Troop Withdrawal from Common Border

Bangladesh has requested that neighboring Myanmar withdraw its security forces from their common border after a Myanmar troop build-up near a camp where thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees have been living since fleeing Myanmar in August.

Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry said Thursday it summoned Myanmar's envoy to the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to convey concerns about Myanmar's increased military presence at the Tombru border crossing in the Khagrachhari district in south-eastern Bangladesh.

The ministry said the ambassador was told the build-up will "create confusion within Bangladesh and escalate tensions on the border."

The build-up is near a "no man's land" where 6,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in tents since Myanmar's brutal late August crackdown on the Muslim minority.

The camp is on a strip of land between the two countries, but on Myanmar's side of a creek that marks the international border.

Bangladesh's border guard director, Brigadier General Mujibur Rahman said his agency has asked to meet with Myanmar border guards to resolve their concerns.

The U.N. refugee agency has expressed concern the refugees would be forced to return to Myanmar without adequate consideration for their safety.

About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Buddhist-dominated Myanmar to Bangladesh since the August crackdown the United Nations has said amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar bolstered its presence in the area despite a signed agreement between the two countries to repatriate the displaced Rohingya to their native Rakhine state, an isolated region in western Myanmar.

Myanmar has long considered the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and has denied them citizenship and basic rights.

Source: Voice of America