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Myanmar Closes Bangladesh Border Crossings

December 25, 1991| From Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Myanmar has sent troops to its frontier with Bangladesh and closed border crossings after a weekend clash between soldiers of both nations, a Bangladesh official said Tuesday.

A senior official at the Interior Ministry said the deployment was not aimed at Bangladesh but at Muslim secessionists, and Bangladeshi troops reportedly have also taken up position near the Myanmar border as a precautionary measure.

Relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly Burma, have chilled after the influx of nearly 40,000 Muslim refugees from Myanmar's western province of Arakan over the last two months. The refugees say they are fleeing persecution by the Buddhist military regime in Yangon, formerly Rangoon.

The military buildup started Saturday when a Myanmar patrol attacked a Bangladeshi border outpost in Bandarban, killing one soldier and injuring 10 soldiers, the independent United News of Bangladesh said earlier. The area is 155 miles southeast of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.

In July, an Associated Press reporter visited a secret camp in the jungle along the border where more than 500 young Muslims were training for guerrilla war against the Yangon regime.

The news agency report quoted an unidentified source as saying that the Myanmar army had moved three brigades to Bushidong, four miles from the border.

The news agency said Myanmar has sealed all transit entry points along the 175-mile border and suspended transit entry permits.

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