Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tourists' entry to CHT is restricted for security reasons



Security forces are restricting tourists' entry into the remote hills of the Chittagong Hill Tracts lately on security grounds, according to bdnews24.com correspondent Biplob Rahman. After a weeklong sojourn into the remote hills and forests of the CHTs, Rahman reported Wednesday that a huge number of local and foreign tourists were found crowding Bandarban town in the peak of the winter season.

Bandarban, Dec 26 (bdnews24.com)—Security forces are restricting tourists' entry into the remote hills of the Chittagong Hill Tracts lately on security grounds, according to bdnews24.com correspondent Biplob Rahman.


After a weeklong sojourn into the remote hills and forests of the CHT, Rahman reported Wednesday that a huge number of local and foreign tourists were found crowding Bandarban town in the peak of the winter season.

Taking advantage of the long Eid, Christmas and New Year's holidays, they were looking to trek deeper into the hills, but were being denied entry into many parts of the CHT by security personnel.

Lt Com Zakaria Khan, assistant director of Inter Services Public Relations, told bdnews24.com: "The temporary embargo has been imposed mainly as a security measure."

Mentioning the abduction of DANIDA official Suman Sharif—from Thanchi in Bandarban district some months back —the ISPR official said: "The restrictions have been imposed so that no such mishap should occur again in the near future."

"We have to ensure the safety of any foreign national, whether a tourist or on official business, whenever they move out of the district headquarters," he said.

Security officials say that local tourists are now permitted to venture out as far as the remote spots of Boga Lake and the Keokradong peak, but they too have to register their presence with army posts at Ruma Ghat, Ruma Bazar and Boga Lake.

But no tourist is permitted to visit Tajindong, Naikhongchhari, Rongchhari and Alikadam hills at the moment.

Security officials said at least 12 foreign guerrilla groups including the Arakan Army, National United Party of Arakan, Arakan Revolutionary International Force and Rohingya Solidarity Organisation are roaming the hills of Bandarban and abducting people for ransom.

bdnews24.com/br/wz/rah/1615 hours

LINK: http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2007/12/26/tourists-entry-to-cht-is-restricted-for-security-reasons