Army’s combing operation continues in Rengkhyong Valley, Bawm Party terrorists participate in it

Map: Rengkhyong area, where combing operations are underway.

Hill Voice, 7 October 2022, Special Correspondent: Massive combing operations are still continuing by hundreds of army personnel from Bilaichari, Rowangchari, Ruma and Bandarban army zones in Bilaichari of Rangamati district and Rowangchari and Ruma upazilas of Bandarban district centering the Rengkhyong Valley. This combing operation started from October 3 and approximately 800 to 1000 army personnel from four army zones led by four zone commanders namely Bilaichhari Zone Commander Lt. Col. Md. Ahsan Habib Rajab, PPM, PSC; Ruma Zone Zone Commander Lt. Col. Hasan Shahriar Iqbal and Bandarban Sadar Zone Commander Lt. Col. Md. Mahmudul Hasan, PSC, participated in this combing operation.

At least 200 army personnel have taken part in this operation from Bilaichari zone alone. According to local sources, army personnel from Jurachhari zone will also join this combing operation as well. According to local sources, the operation of Jurachari zone may start from the new camp established at Lulangchari under Banjogichara zone under Jurachhari upazila.

A name has been given to this combing operation of the army, according to reliable sources. But the name is not yet known.

According to local sources, although this combing operation was conducted in these three upazilas – Bilaichari, Rowangchari and Ruma upazila, but the main target of the operation is Bortali Union under Bilaichari upazila. On the other hand, all the areas of Ruma and Rowangchari where the operation is taking place are basically bordering areas with Bortali Union.

In addition to the villages of Borthali Union of Bilaichhari, combing operation is going on in Bagalek, Sunsong Para, Arthapara, Kamtam Para and Mannuam Para under Ruma Upazila and Roninpara, Shukramani Para, Shankhamani Para under Rowangchari Upazila.

The areas or Jumma villages where the combing operation is being carried out are mainly centered on Ramettong Mon (Big Hill). Ramettong Mon is situated to the west and north-west of Rawangchari, to the east and north-east and to the south-east of Borthali Union of Bilaichhari and to the south and south-west of Ruma Upazila.

The combing operation is being carried out mainly around the Reingkhyong valley from Mandirachara to the tri-junction (India-Bangladesh-Burma). The aim of the operation is to establish the area as a free zone for the Kuki-Chin armed terrorist group known as the Bawm Party. Hence, the armed terrorists of the Bawm Party have participated in the combing operation with the army.

A secret meeting between the army heady by Ruma zone commander Lt. Col. Hasan Shahriar Iqbal and the Bawm Party was held on 22 September 2022 in the Ruma army zone to carry out this operation jointly by the army and the Bawm Party. Sampa Bawm participated in the meeting as a representative of Bawm Party. The Bawm Party was instructed by the army in that meeting that they (army) want to see the dead bodies of the members of Jan Samhati Samiti by October 6, 2022.

According to local sources, a group of 120 soldiers of 32 BIR under Bilaichari zone of the army conducted an operation in the area from Raimangchra to Bairakychra of Borthali Union yesterday (September 6).

It should be noted that on October 3, this group of the army came from Tangkaitang to Raimangchra and took the position there. During this time, it is reported that the soldiers beat up two villagers who are residents of Raimanchra. However, their names and identities are yet to be found.

On the other hand, another group of the army numbering 150 personnel under 28 Bir of Ruma army zone conducted an operation in Gangachara of Borthali Union yesterday on September 6. From there a group of 40 personnel went to Heingyochhara. The army took 40 ordinary Tanchangya villagers from Gangachara with them to carry supplies and equipment.

It has also been reported that a group from the 200-member army troop from Bandarban army zone is currently stationed at Roninpara of Rowangchari Upazila. The Zone Commander of Bandarban zone himself joined this group. Another group is operating in and around Saizam Para of Borthali Union.

Operation is also underway in Bagalek, Dhuppanichhra and adjacent areas of Ruma Upazila. However, detailed updates on operations in these areas are not yet available.

Bawm Party armed terrorists participate in the Operation:

According to reliable sources, armed terrorists of the Kuki-Chin who is widely known as Bawm Party have participated along with each group of the army (7 armed cadres of Bawm Party in each group) in the combing operation which started from 3 October 2022.

According to local sources, on October 3, Nathan Bawm, the president of Kuki-Chin party went to Chittagong and met his family. He is reported to have returned with Tk 30 lakh while returning from Chittagong. The money was received in Agrabad, Chittagong. After reaching Bandarban, Sangpui Bawm of Getsmani Para carried him on a motorcycle and brought him to Debata Pahar via Rowangchari-Ruma road.

On the other hand, on the occasion of the army’s combing operation, the Kuki-Chin party organized a feast slaughtering cow with Bawm Party members and local army personnel in Ronin Para of Rowangchari on October 5. The cow was taken from Rowangchari Union Parishad member and Durnibar Para resident Aasen Bawm (a UP member) in arrears of price.

The price of the cow is Tk. 40,000. Bawm Party have started extorting from every Bawm Para to pay the due price of the cow. A contribution of 15 thousand taka has been fixed for Bandarban-Roangchari division, 15 thousand taka for Ruma division and 15 thousand taka for Remakri division (including Thanchi).

After paying Tk. 40 thousand out of 45 thousand taka collected, it was informed that the remaining 5 thousand taka will be kept for tea-snack expenses. This caused a strong reaction among the common villagers of Bawm community.

The armed terrorists of KNF, known as Bawm Party, are staying near the Ranin Para army camp of Rawangchari upazila under the security of the army. Earlier in April 2022, the Bawm Party had set up their camp and training center at Rangtlang Hill popularly known as Kuki Moun under Borthali Union of Bilaichari.

But on 7 June 2022, the Bawm Party suffered heavy losses due to a sudden ambush by rival groups. It is learnt that 15/16 armed members of the Bawm Party were killed on the spot and several others were seriously injured.

The Bawm Party members were so terrified by that attack that they were forced to flee from Rangtlang Hill towards Ruma, leaving their temporary barrack huts, food grains, daily essentials, clothes etc. stored in the hideouts.