Dhaka: Bangladesh paramilitary border guards enforced a tightened vigil along the country`s frontier with riot affected Rakhine state of Myanmar to prevent fresh influx of Muslim refugees in the wake of violent sectarian clashes.
"We have sent back some 350 Rohingyas (ethnic Muslims) to their country as they tried to intrude Bangladesh crossing the common Naf River in seven small boats," Commanding Officer of 42 BGB battalion Lt Col Zahid Hassan said.
Hassan said the 151 kilometer area of Bangladesh-Myanmar frontier witnessed an intensified vigil compared to the normal periods with Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) mobilizing extra troops for patrols fearing mass influx of Rohingyas.
Major Kamrul Hassan, who led the push back drive, said the Rohingyas tried to enter in Shahpori Dip and Badarmokam of Teknaf but the guards sent them back.
The local public representatives alleged several Rohingya groups backed by some foreign funded NGOs were encouraging them to take refuge in Bangladesh as campaign was underway for repatriation of Rohingyas who already were in the country.
"I have the information that some Rohingya groups are trying to encourage Rohingya influx and some foreign NGOs are backing them," Teknaf Upazila chairman Shafique Mia said.
The Myanmar government has declared emergency in western parts to deal with sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists.
Meanwhile, 39 of the 55 Bangladeshi businessmen, who were stranded for several days in Rakhiine sate, returned home yesterday as the situation eased a little after authorities there announced a state of emergency for the region while 16 other still await repatriation.
Officials said the 55 Bangladeshis were stranded after curfews were enforced at the western Myanmar`s Rakhine state.
One of the stranded businessman Gora Mia on his return said Myanmar troops provided them protection and took them to the transit camp on the other end of the Naf River.
BGB officials said 171 Myanmar businessmen too were stranded in Bangladesh. Ten of them returned home as the transit camp on the side of their country was reopened today.