Burma Times Correspondent: August 31, 2015
More than a dozen Rakhines were seen to be crossing the border from Neela in Bangladesh to Naffura in Maungdaw North on Saturday night.
Sources on both sides of the border confirm that these men who have Bangladeshi citizenship made the illegal crossing in the darkness without any documents.
They are residents of Chowdhury para in Neela. The Rakhines were given a hero’s welcome in Naffura by some leading community members of the area. They are all known to be close to the insurgent outfit Arakan Army.
Sources say these men have been co-ordinating activities of the Arakan Army from the Bangladesh side of the border. They made the late night border crossing to evade arrest by Bangladesh forces.
Bangladesh has cracked down against Arakan Army since a skirmish in the remote Bandarban area injured a paramilitary soldier.
Many Rakhines in Bandarban and the Cox’s Bazar region hold leading positions in Arakan Army.
In the past the government had settled many Muslim majority areas with Rakhines from Bangladesh. However many of them turned against the regime and joined separatist groups calling for an independent ‘fatherland’ for the Rakhine people.