A Rohingya refugee boy was shot and injured on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border as multiple rounds were fired from a Myanmar border security post, an official said Sunday.
Nurul Islam, 15, was grazing cows when 17 rounds were fired from Myanmar’s Rymongkhali security post, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) spokesman Major Iqbal Ahmed said.
“Islam was lucky as a bullet scratched his elbow,” he told AFP, adding the boy lives in Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district.
The BGB would send a protest letter to their Myanmar counterparts, the Border Guard Police, over the shooting, he said.
A local Bangladeshi official, speaking on condition on anonymity, said the incident might be aimed at delaying the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, set to begin in next week.
“Otherwise, why would they fire at the Bangladeshi ground? It is to create pressure on the refugees and the UN,” he said.
Bangladesh and Myanmar officials last week said some 2,000 Rohingya refugees would return to their homeland in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state as part of a repatriation deal.
More than 720,000 of Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya fled a brutal military crackdown in August last year, taking shelter in crowded camps in Bangladesh and bringing with them harrowing tales of rape, murder and arson in a military crackdown.
Investigators have said senior Myanmar military officials should be prosecuted for genocide in Rakhine, but the country has rejected these calls, insisting it was defending itself against militants.
Myanmar and Bangladesh announced a large-scale repatriation plan in November 2017.
But the process hit bureaucratic hurdles almost immediately and failed to take off, as both sides blamed the other for the delay and rights group warned returning the Rohingya to Myanmar would condemn them to further reprisals.