Calm Restored as Security is Beefed Up in Arakan

Police patrol the streets of Sittwe. (PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)

Police patrol the streets of Sittwe. (PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)

Calm has been restored to western Arakan State after a significant increase in security forces in the streets of affected towns and villages, according to state media on Monday.

The New Light of Myanmar reported that after one week of clashes between Arakanese Buddhists and Muslims, the region “is under control and back to stable [sic] over the weekend.”

Speaking to The Irrawaddy, Zaw Htay, the director of the President’s Office in Naypyidaw, said there are now 5,000 police officers deployed, as well as 1,000 border security forces, commonly known in Burma as the nasaka. The Burmese army has a total of 51 battalions—approximately 10,000 troops—in the region.

According to figures stated in The New Light of Myanmar, 2,950 houses, 14 religious buildings and eight rice mills were razed to the ground during last week’s riots. Eighty-four persons have been confirmed dead, while 129 have been hospitalized. The violence raged across nine townships from Oct. 21 to 27.

Security measures were increased to avoid further conflict, the media said, adding that security personnel will focus on relief and rehabilitation work for the displaced victims of the riots and violence.

The New Light of Myanmar said that mobs who were torching neighborhoods were dispersed by the security forces, including the use of tear gas in Kyauktaw.

The state media reported that 71 percussion-lock firearms were seized and suspects arrested in three villages—Lathsaungkauk, Pikethe and Taungbway—in Kyauktaw Township on Friday. It was also reported that legal action has been taken against 1,058 people over the past four months when the communal strife began.

The latest clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims occurred in Minbyar and Mrauk-O townships on the night of Oct. 21, then escalated quickly to Kyaukpyu, Myebon, Rathedaung, Pauktaw, Kyauktaw, Thandwe and Ramree townships. About 20 villages and more than 10 neighborhoods or quarters in those nine townships were affected.

“The government is now working on the relief effort, providing food assistance and healthcare to the victims of the crisis,” said Zaw Htay.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press has reported that the UN has increased its estimate of displaced persons from the recent violence to no less than 28,000.

5 Responses to Calm Restored as Security is Beefed Up in Arakan

  1. George Than Setkyar Heine

    The Burma Army (security forces) should be ON HAND SINCE DAY ONE of course.
    Great numbers of people have LOST THEIR LIVES not to mention PROPERTY and RELIGIOUS buildings DESTROYED by the BANGALI MUSLIMS as well.
    The illegal immigrants SET FIRE to THEIR HUTS and RAN AWAY culminating in Rakhines HOMES and PROPERTY BURNED DOWN to the GROUND, not to mention KILLING the Rakhines on their way out of the villages and towns.
    The Bangali Muslims KNOW the OIC would BUTT IN at a later date and CRY WOLF over the matter which they have STARTED in the first place. 
    The so-called COMMUNAL STRIFE in Arakan State is a CAREFULLY CRAFTED and EXCELLENTLY EXECUTED GAME/MATTER since day one of course.
    The AIM/MOTIVE is LAND GRABBING on a LARGE SCALE as well by the so-dubbed Rohingyas to ESTABLISH a MUSLIM ENCLAVE in Arakan State and further ISLAMIZATION of BURMA on the long run no less as well.
    Hence, the ONLY CHOICE remaining to PREEMPT FURTHER UNREST/COMMUNAL STRIFE in Arakan State is to PLACE ALL Bangali Muslims in a designated SAFE AREA at the earliest.
    And the UN, US, OIC and others could/would RENDER HUMANITARIAN AID (money, and relief supplies) to the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from Bangladesh before RESETTLING THEM in THIRD COUNTRIES preferably in the 57 countries of the OIC as the Rohingya also PRAY to ALLAH since day one until today.
    Of course Burma has NO OBLIGATION to RECOGNIZE THEM as an ETHNIC MINORITY of BURMA much less the OPTION to GIVE CITIZENSHIP to the Rohingyas as they are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS only who JUMPED FENCE from across Bangladesh in the first place until today.

  2. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Manipulation of this ongoing riot by different groups including Muslim extremist, Burmese Military, medias and INGOs is undeniable, seeking to their own hidden agenda before the lives of the people. There are thousands of issues arising as conflicts during this reform process to democracy: all of those do not come up as national or international level, but communal riots in Rakhine State of Burma does. 

    The whole nation of Burma has to be very careful about these communal riots as the fight of people against the tyranny is not over yet. The history of ours has shown us again and again how unreliable the military is when it comes to getting what it wants; they would do anything by any means, including selling the whole nation. On that ground, Rakhine State becomes nothing for them in an exchange for absolute power in their hands. 

    That is why all of our eyes have to be wide open with extreme vigilance in holding our strategy to win over tyranny that might also includes swallowing unfairness, and loosing apart of our land to Bengali aliens. Now we know where we are, what we want, and face with this reality of the worst dirty trick of this military hardliners. 

    If we opt non-violence in this fight, we must occupy all the streets of Rakhine through peaceful demonstrations, demanding separation of rival community. In the mean time, all of the Rakhine in the Muslim dominated communities have to move out of those unsafe locations to the safe area; if required, demand for designated safe area where all the venerable Rakhine can move in. 

    Don’t go and stay in the houses of relatives, friends or Buddhist temple since your situation will go unnoticed to do so. Otherwise; no matter what you do, let it be defending your own safety or reacting to any unfairness by all of the above mentioned narcissistic organizations, you are to blame by the international community, to be manipulated by your own tyrant that will lead to your internal bleeding – death.  

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  3. How long can Policemen maintain peace? As long as we do not know the value of  “unity in diversities”, clashes will happen sooner or later. We had lived in hatred and distrust for six decades. We all need to learn to live in harmony. Even among ethnic peoples, we still do not respect one another. Lets embrace each other as brothers and sisters. 

  4. More guns= more peace, eh…

  5.  It is very clear that the hard liners from the Stae ruling party ( The USDP)  is behind all of this. Rakhines and Rohingyas have been living peacefully for decades and  why now? The Internatiuonal Community must understand this.  Thein Sein government must hold accountable for what they have done in Rakhine State.

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