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Dhaka protests Myanmar airspace violation amid Rohingya crisis

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DHAKA: Dhaka on Friday protested violation of its airspace by Myanmar drones and helicopter, as tensions escalate between the nations after nearly 400,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh since last month.

Bangladesh’s foreign ministry in the capital summoned the charge d’affaires of Myanmar’s embassy and warned that the encroachments could lead to “unwarranted consequences”.

“Bangladesh strongly protested the instances of violation of her air space by Myanmar military drones and helicopter on 10, 12 and 14 September 2017,” the ministry said in a statement.

READ MORE: UN says 313,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh

Bangladesh “expressed deep concern at the repetition of such acts of provocation and demanded that Myanmar takes immediate measures to ensure that such violation of sovereignty does not occur again,” it said.

It was the third time in less than three weeks that Dhaka has summoned the Myanmar envoy as ties between the two neighbours soured after violence in Myanmar’s north Rakhine state triggered a massive refugee crisis.

The UN says an estimated 391,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in the last two-and-a-half weeks after fleeing their homes in Myanmar’s violence-wracked Rakhine state.

Rohingya Muslims who escaped said their villages have been burned to the ground and relatives killed by Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s army and militias. The army denies the allegations.

ALSO READ: Bangladesh minister speaks of ‘genocide’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine

Images purportedly showing atrocities against the Rohingya have flooded Muslim-majority Bangladesh’s social media, triggering sympathy and protests by thousands of supporters of hardline parties.

Bangladesh’s southeastern Chittagong region has deep historical and linguistic ties with the Rohingya community.

The Bangladesh government earlier protested the alleged planting of anti-personnel landmines near the border by Myanmar security forces.

Dhaka has also protested Myanmar’s branding of the Rohingya people as “Bengalis” – the main ethnic people in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked Myanmar to take back the Rohingya, saying the ethnic community has been living in Myanmar for centuries.

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