State Counselor Condemns Attacks in Rakhine

By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2017

YANGON — Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi condemned Friday’s attacks in northern Rakhine State that saw 12 members of security forces and one immigration officer killed after Muslim militants raided 30 police and military targets.

“I strongly condemn today’s brutal attacks by terrorists on security forces in Rakhine State,” said she in a statement released on Friday evening.

Following a series of violent attacks in Rakhine State on Friday morning, the State Counselor held an urgent meeting with Union ministers of defense, home affairs and border affairs, as well as her national security adviser and deputy minister from the President’s Office in Naypyitaw on Friday afternoon.

According to a statement from the State Counselor’s Office, members of the security forces evacuated 600 Buddhist Arakanese residents from several villages in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships, citing concerns for their safety.

Attacks on around 30 police outposts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships on Friday caused the deaths of 10 policemen, one soldier, one immigration officer and 59 suspected militants.

In an additional statement from the State Counselor’s Office on Friday evening, Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau—with the backing of the Union government—announced that any individuals involved in the attacks would be classified as members of a “terrorist organization.” Specifically mentioned was the ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army), believed to be responsible for the attacks.

In her original statement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi commended the members of the police and military who she described as acting with courage in the face of many challenges.

She suggested that the actions of militants were purportedly carried out to further undermine government action recommended by the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine State Advisory Commission on Thursday.

“It is clear that today’s attacks are a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts of those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine State. We must not allow our work to be derailed by the violent actions of extremists,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is quoted as saying in the press release.

The statement also said that the government had been aware of a risk of attacks coinciding with the release of the commission’s final report, and that the current administration remains committed to “finding meaningful and lasting solutions for conflict-torn Rakhine.”