Twenty-two Bangladeshi fishermen were detained by the Myanmar navy from the Bay of Bengal near St Martin’s Island today.

The Myanmar navy entered Bangladesh territory, near the eastern side of St Martin’s Island, around 10am and captured the fishermen while they were fishing in the bay, said St Martin’s Island Union Parishad Chairman Noor Ahmed.

He said the Myanmar navy also took four fishing trawlers away at that time. The owners of the trawlers are Mohammad Azim, Nurul Amin, Hossain Ahmed and Mohammad Yunus.

The chairman said the detained fishermen informed him over mobile phone that they were kept on a Myanmar navy ship. After a while, it was not possible to communicate with them, he added.

Speaking to our Cox’s Bazar staff correspondent, trawler owner Nurul Amin said sometimes Myanmar navy forcibly seizes their trawlers, entering the territorial waters of Bangladesh and releases those after taking ransom.

“We (the trawler owners) have informed local Coast Guard and BGB about today’s incident to rescue the trawlers and fishermen,” said Nurul Amin.

Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mohammad Parvez Chowdhury said he has learned about the matter from the union parishad chairman. BGB and the Coast Guard have been asked to take necessary steps in this regard.

Lt Khandaker Munif Taki, media officer of Bangladesh Coast Guard headquarters, said, “We have heard of the incident. The matter has been reported to senior officials.”

Necessary steps are being taken to bring the trawlers and fishermen back, said Lt Taki, adding that he could not say how many fishermen were detained and trawlers seized.

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