Irrawaddy Region Police on High Alert in Wake of Rakhine Attacks

By Salai Thant Zin 29 August 2017

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — Police stations along the coast of Irrawaddy Region’s Pathein district have been put on high alert over fears that violence in Rakhine State could spill over to the adjacent region.

According to a police spokesperson, stations in Ngapudaw Township’s Haigyi Island, as well as Chaung Tha, Ngwe Saung and Shwe Thaung Yan beaches and Thabaung Township were put on alert for potential terrorist attacks on Saturday following assaults on 30 police stations and one army base in northern Rakhine State on Friday.

The alert would remain in place until attacks in the adjacent state were suppressed, Police Lt-Col Khin Maung Latt, spokesperson of Irrawaddy Region Police Force, told The Irrawaddy.

He did not comment on whether the beefing up of security was in response to a specific threat or piece of intelligence.

Lt-Col Khin Maung Latt denied rumors that Muslim Rohingya—referred to as “Bengali” by the government to infer they are interlopers from Bangladesh—had fled to Irrawaddy Region from Rakhine State by boat.

“The regional police force chief has checked on the ground, it is important that people don’t believe rumors,” he said, requesting that any sightings of people arriving from Rakhine be reported administrators or police.

In May 2015, authorities allowed more than 700 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants to disembark from an overcrowded fishing boat in Ngapudaw Township.