Govt Security Adviser Defends Rakhine Troop Deployment

By Htet Naing Zaw 14 August 2017

NAYPYITAW — The Tatmadaw is responsible for security in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw, which faces insurgent violence, said U Thaung Tun, national security adviser for the Myanmar government, in light of recent troop deployment to the area.

While concerns of renewed “clearance operations” were raised with the arrival of two planes of Tatmadaw [Myanmar Army] troops in Sittwe on Thursday morning, U Thaung Tun said  the deployment was meant only to provide security. The military’s past clearance operations in the area drew widespread accusations of human rights abuses.

“Responsibility falls on the Tatmadaw when Rakhine State faces danger. It has taken on the responsibility for security after discovering [militant] camps in the Mayu mountain range,” he told the press after the first day of the Forum on Democratic Transition in Naypyitaw on Friday.

The dispatch follows the Arakan National Party (ANP)’s request to Myanmar armed forces commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing to boost security in the area on Wednesday.

“Security forces need to solve the Rakhine issue with foresight. While there is still no understanding and trust between two communities, security operations will only quash the militancy for a while, and it will return once the troops are removed. And if there are more tragic cases then and tensions are transmitted to the younger generation, it will become more difficult to solve,” political analyst U Tin Maung Than told The Irrawaddy.

He said he supported the suppression of militants, but suggested the Myanmar Army should employ effective intelligence collection rather than use the local Muslim administrators as informants.

According to government statistics, militants have killed around 20 Muslims who cooperated with authorities in their operations in the area, where tensions have been high since militants attacked police outposts last October in Maungdaw.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.