A file picture depicting Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members patrolling the streets in Dhaka, Bangladesh. EFE/EPA/FILE/STRINGER

2 soldiers killed in attack in eastern Bangladesh

Dhaka, May 17 (EFE) – Two soldiers were killed and two others injured when the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA) carried out an explosion and opened fire on armed forces personnel in the restive Bandarban district in eastern Bangladesh, the army said on Wednesday.

The attack occurred around 2pm local time on Tuesday when the army team, acting on a tip-off, headed to a remote area in the district to raid a KNA hideout, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

ISPR underlined that four people were injured and quickly transferred to a military hospital in Chittagong by helicopter, but two of them succumbed to their injuries.

“In recent times, the Kuki-Chin National Army has been trying to create an anarchic environment through terrorist activities in dense forests,” said the army statement.

Bandarban district is part of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, which saw an armed insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s by a tribal group seeking greater autonomy until a peace deal was brokered between the Bangladesh government and the rebels in 1997.

The only Bangladeshi district to have borders with both India and Myanmar has become restive again after the elite security force Rapid Action Battalion launched a crackdown against the newly-emerged militant group Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya in October 2022.

The army accused the KNA of providing arms training to Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya in exchange for money in Bandarban’s hilly areas.

Earlier in March, an army soldier was killed and two others were wounded in an alleged KNA attack.

Police recovered eight bodies in military camouflage in a remote hilly area of Bandarban on Apr.7, while three men were found killed in a reported exchange of fire in the same area earlier this month.

Local media reported that they were members of the Christian Bwam community of the Kuki Chin tribe.

The police crackdown against insurgent and Islamist groups triggered the exodus of nearly 300 Kuki-Chin community members to the Indian state of Mizoram, which borders Bandarban, Indian media outlets reported in November. EFE