Arakan Govt to Resettle Villagers Displaced by Conflict

By Moe Myint 20 January 2016

RANGOON — The Arakan State government plans to relocate 32 households displaced by recent conflict in Mrauk-U Township, according to a state official.

Hla Thein, of the state government’s public relations department, said on Tuesday that the state will provide materials, labor and farmland, and that the resettlement project is expected to be complete before a new government is sworn in later this year.

The official said the location for the new homes has not yet been chosen, but that the process has been and will remain consultative with affected villagers.

“We asked them about their wishes, and they agreed to our suggestion,” Hla Thein said.

The displaced villagers are currently taking shelter in a monastery in Kyiyar Pyin village. They are among an estimated 200 civilians who fled their homes after conflict broke out between the Arakan Army and the Burma Army in late December.

An administrator from Kyiyar Pyin, Tin Aye Maung, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that Arakan State Chief Minister Mya Aung visited the village recently to meet with the refugees and assess their willingness to relocate.

“Some people accepted their offer, but others wanted to go back to their original homes,” Tin Aye Maung said.

Conflict appears to have abated in the restive area, though the commander of the Arakan Army said recently that tensions remain high and clashes could erupt “at any time.”

Fighting between the Arakan Army and government troops broke out on Dec. 27, lasting for about three weeks. The Burma Army has since said that intends to “annihilate” the ethnic “insurgents.”

The Arakan Army is not recognized by the government as a legitimate non-state armed group, and has been excluded from the ongoing peace process between the government and other ethnic armed organizations.