The government is still reviewing its findings on recent violent attacks in Rakhine State sector by sector to make a comprehensive review, Union Minister Dr Pe Myint said at a press conference yesterday.
The press conference was held to clarify the recent trip to Rakhine State by a governmental mission comprising Union Ministers Dr Pe Myint and U Thein Swe and Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu, Union Minister Dr Pe Myint said that they had met with town elders, abbots, leaders of the Islamic community, representatives of political parties and civil society organisations and explained the real situation and provided assistance.
Give thy ears to others
The union minister said they also listened to the opinions of the public because the recent incidents in Rakhine are important for the entire union.
Therefore, the union government, the state government, the Tatmadaw, the Ministry of Home Affairs and various ministries are cooperating for Rakhine State, according to the union minister.
According to the union minister, abbots in Rakhine State said that they were sad about the incidents and urged the government not to allow a repeat of such incidents in future, pointing out that such incidents had also broken out in Rakhine State in the past and the incidents got more and more virulent each time. Scores were killed in riots in Rakhine State in 2012.
They also urged the government to reinforce the police in the state and to retrieve the looted arms so that worries of the people in the state could be alleviated, and to continue to provide assistance to local villages, the union minister was quoted as saying at the press conference.
Effective enforcement of the 1982 Citizenship Law
Locals also urged the government to effectively implement the 1982 Citizenship Law, to form people’s militia by arming the locals, to strictly check the movement of people and to restore the rule of law in villages, the union minister said.
Some locals were more analytic and urged the government to develop and implement a security strategy in which security forces and local people work side by side and that can match with the modus operandi of violent attackers, according to the union minister.
Leaders of the Islamic community also expressed their sadness over the recent violent attacks and denounced all forms of terrorism, before vowing to cooperate with the government in accordance with the law, the union minister said. They promised to provide information to the government and called for security measures to protect them.
Sector-wise reviews in progress
The delegation led by the union ministers reported their findings to the State Counsellor on 15 October and the government is still reviewing the findings sector by sector to make a comprehensive review, the union minister added, saying that the government will handle the issue in a transparent and timely manner.
Concerning contacting of terrorism-connected nations, Union Minister U Kyaw Tint Swe said that EU decided not to submit Myanmar human rights proposal to the third committee as Myanmar has now a democratic government, which is exerting its utmost effort to improve situations in terms of democracy and human rights. But, this decision of EU has displeased certain groups.
Regarding international involvement (in the affairs of Rakhine), we are dealing with international community through diplomatic channel in order that no nation can interfere. In this regard, we’re cooperating with Bangladesh, which said that their attitude (toward Rakhine affair) is no acceptance of terrorism. They have already handed over two attackers. OIC is attempting to submit Myanmar human rights proposal (draft), and in this regard, we’ve made the whole true story known, explaining we’re just enforcing the rule of the law. As said by Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint, we’ve exercised restraint over the use of force. There are three Islamic countries in ASEAN-Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. We’ve called the ambassadors from the three countries to explain the true situations.
During the meeting, the Indonesian ambassador said their country respects Myanmar’s political freedom and sovereign and that they did not want to interfere in Myanmar’s internal affairs.
Regarding our response, the Indonesian ambassador said that measures taken by Myanmar government are legal and in accord with the authorities of a sovereign country. They also said that they believe Myanmar is protecting human rights. Indonesian Ambassador was supported by ambassadors from Brunei and Malaysia.
The union minister also quoted the ambassador for EU as saying that the diplomat would explain the government’s response to member nations.
In relation to the plans for the continued existence of Rakhine villages, Union Minister Information Dr Pe Myint told the journalists that Rakhine is minority in this region, thus creating concerns over outbreak of conflicts.
Concerning moving out of Rakhine ethnic people, he continued to say that that people move out in times of instability but they are very reluctant to come back when situation has become normal again. It is quite uncertain that they will all come back. In that case, the Rakhine village will find it difficult to survive. This problem needs a lonter-term solution. From our findings on ground, we know that we need to make arrangements to enable them to live a peaceful and secure life and to earn a livelihood. And recovery of arms and ammunition as well as annihilation of terrorist insurgents are being done according to the existing laws of Myanmar and international laws.
We are also of the opinion that we need to restore law and order in the problematic villages and take necessary measures to keep the administrative machinery fully operational.
The refugee camps in Natmyitwa are required to be checked. More funds need to be spent upon strengthening of the border fence between Myanmar and Bangladesh. It is also needed to take measures for the development of indigenous villages and for ensuring their security.
Although some political parties in Rakhine State did not fully cooperate with the incumbent government, they showed willingness to cooperate after October 9 attacks. Besides, the social network organizations within Rakhine State are also found to have changed their altitude.
Concerning causalities, Deputy Home Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe said altogether 14 people have been sacrificed their lves for the country—Five Tatmadawmen and nine policemen inclusive of an officer, that four other policemen were injured while 30 attackers were killed— 28 men and two women. And those who are captured alive are being interrogated according to police procedures.
Then Myanmar Police Chief Maj-Gen Zaw Win said 29 attackers are being detained— two in Sittwe Correctional Facility while the remaining 27 are being kept in the police lock-ups in Maungtaw area. The detainees are being granted their due rights and interrogations are being made according to the police procedures.
Next, the deputy minister MajGen Aung Soe said that the police commander of Maungtaw Border Guard Force has been temporarily suspended and a police Brig-Gen has been assigned to control and command the border guard force HQ. The previous commander has been attached temporarily to another department.
Security of the Area
In answer to the question as to the present situation in Buthidaung Maungtaw area and as to how to resettle displaced locals and their education in the future, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied that the authorities are presently taking the responsibility of the security of the area and the Tatmadaw-police-force combined troops met head-on attacks with violent attackers occasionally during the area clearance operations, but any separate armed attacks did not occurred in main camps, towns and villages, thus it can be said that the area security is under the control.
He added that being school holidays, teachers returned home as usual. The remaining administrative officials are serving their duties at places they are assigned. Mechanism of Administration is running as normal. The Rule of Law can be said to be stable to some extent. After Thadingyut Holiday, schools will be reopened in the previous villages, depending on the situation of the area. For living on inseparably-populated area, some local ethnics were assembled in temporary camps in Buthidaung Maungtaw region to be provided with basic necessities by the Rakhine State Government and the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry and Ministry of Border Affairs. Deputy Minister for Border Affairs, Brig-Gen Than Htut replied that the Ministry is building two more villages during 1991 to 2011, so the region has 36 villages in all.
They are divided into two groups: the displaced village and the assembled one. Now displaced village has a population of 14,000, provided by two ministries. The State Government and the Ministry are carrying out to build more villages and to create job opportunities.
Relation with RSO
In reply to the query as to there is a relation with RSO, any information was received about the armed attack before hard and as to how the negligent authorities are to be taken action against, Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied that the government came to know from their confession of the detainees that the so-called leader of the attack had relation with RSO, training courses and subsidy from them. The authorities released the news as confessed by them. Some weakness can be found in receiving news and information.
Around 400 armed attackers which took part in the attacks are dispersing in different directions, and at the time when the Tatmdaw and police force combined, collective attacks was not found anywhere.
In reply to the question as to potential cooperation of Islam believers was possible, Dr Pe Myint replied that the authorities found it difficult to say whether they are to cooperate, to be non-alligned or to be involved in the attacks. According to some Islamist believers in Buthidaung, they would cooperate and they did not like terrorism and they are willing and ready to cooperate and to inform news and information as much as they can, said the Union Minister.
He continued to say that however, the governmental mission only met with remarkable ones of the townsfolk, approximately 40/50/60 people. For this, it is difficult to answer exactly in regard to the question, he added.
In response to the question as to how action will be taken against dereliction, Maj-Gen Zaw Win replied that servicemen who performed with bravery were promoted to higher positions. Chief of Police Training inspected all border outposts, he added.
Firstly, the Myanmar Police Force would take lesson and secondly would take action against those who practice dereliction of duty so much so that they lost arms and ammunition to enemies and even lives of the police.
Regarding the measures taken to prevent terrorist attacks, Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied that Pyidaungsu Hluttaw promulgated the law on Anti-Terrorism so as to be able to fight terrorism in Myanmar.
The government has also formed a 34-member central committee for fighting the terrorism and plans are being drawn to quickly response to possible attacks to Myanmar.
Regarding the evacuation of teachers and departmental personnel from the vulnerable areas, Col Zaw Min Tun of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army) replied that a total of 482 including 254 teachers, 122 departmental staff with 69 family members, two Buddhist monks and 35 civilians have been evacuated. When the situation in the areas return to normality, they will be assigned to their previous positions in the areas.
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