Vice President: Maungdaw Attacks Conspired to ‘Harm the Sovereignty of the Country’

By Saw Yan Naing 27 December 2016

Recent armed attacks in Arakan State were “conspired” to “harm the sovereignty of the country,” according to military-appointed Vice President U Myint Swe, chairman of the government’s investigation commission on Arakan State.

U Myint Swe shared the commission’s findings in Naypyidaw on Monday and said the October and November attacks in northern Arakan State’s Maungdaw Township were “complicated” as they were linked with overseas organizations, state media the Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Tuesday.

“Previous conflicts were communal conflicts that took place between the two local communities,” but “the recent occurrences were conspired after 2012 to wage an armed attack, intended to harm the sovereignty of the country,” said U Myint Swe according to the report.

The commission members also discussed how the government, Burma Army, police force and local residents in Arakan State would cooperate in order to prevent potential similar armed attacks in the future.

Residents and rights groups say soldiers have raped Muslim minority Rohingya women, burnt homes, and killed civilians during Burma Army ‘security operations,’ accusations which the government denies.

State media said at least 86 people have died and the UN reported that 34,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since operations begun.

The commission visited affected areas of Maungdaw Township in early December and is planning to make another trip to complete its report in full.

The commission also said that it wanted more “independent journalists” to visit the area, which has been on lockdown since early October.

In 2012, more than 100 people died and about 140,000 people were displaced due to communal violence between Buddhist Arakanese and Rohingya in Arakan State.