Myanmar hunts for manipulators behind Rakhine riot

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-11-1 18:29:33

The Myanmar government is hunting for manipulators behind waves of renewed sectarian riot from Oct. 21 until the end of the month.

Announcements issued by the President's Office have warned that "Individuals and organizations, who were behind the incidents in Rakhine state, will be exposed and legal action be taken against them."

According to an announcement on Wednesday, a total of 180 percussion lock firearms were seized in the violent incidents. Evidences used in making arms were also seized.

"The conflicts between the two communities showed signs of evolving into an armed violence even threatening security forces," the government said in a statement.

"It is found that organization on the other side well prepared their activities with organized arrangements using locally-made arms to commit mob threats, terrorist attacks, and violence and arson attacks," the statement said, adding that "It is obvious that not only political parties and organizations that made peace with the government but also some local and foreign organizations that are on the side of the other organization involved in the incidents."

On Oct. 31, the local authorities issued an ultimatum along with the government statement, setting Nov. 3 as the deadline for handing over all arms, including guns, bayonets, swords daggers, spears, bow and arrow, and other arms to the nearby police stations and security forces.

"Legal action will be taken against those who are found holding these arms from the said day onwards," the ultimatum said.

"It is found that saboteurs are attempting to commit destructive acts so as to undermine the rule of law and peace and stability while the government is speeding up peace and stability and rehabilitation for returning to normal," it said, adding that in some townships in the Rakhine state, groups are attempting to commit robbery and riot with the use of swords, bayonets and percussion lock firearms.

A series of fresh riot in Rakhine state, which recurred for more than a week since Oct. 21, has left 32,231 people homeless.

The death toll rose to 89 with 136 injured as of Oct. 30.

During the riot, 5,351 houses were burnt down in arson fire in addition to 14 religious buildings and eight rice mills.

The statement urged all monks and people to cooperate with the government in addressing the conflicts in a peaceful way.

Moreover, a high-ranking military official from the Office of Myanmar's Army Chief Lieutenant-General Hla Min has urged people in the country to cooperate in restoring stability and development of the riot-hit Rakhine state without being swayed by instigation.

He disclosed that the government is carefully working out the screening process on such status as citizens, should-be-guess citizens and should-not-be citizens in a peaceful way.

Minister of Border Affairs Lieutenant-General Thein Htay also said the government is making strenuous efforts to ensure rule of law, and he said each and every person enjoys equal rights under the same law.

"Anxieties, discontent and revenge are illegal. Only when the country sees peace and stability, should the focus be on socio- economic development," he said.

Although Rakhine state is rich in natural resources, people should not live below the poverty line, he said, calling for an end to the conflicts by solving them within the legal framework and through peaceful means by finding the root cause of the conflict and by holding clear and tolerant view.

Rakhine State Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin also revealed that combined forces have been formed to ensure stability of the region and they are duty-bound to keep making efforts to accomplish rehabilitation tasks for the victims of both sides after the recent riot.

He stressed the need to form different levels of combined forces to prevent such incidents, warning that such incidents would hinder the development of the state.

The second round of riot, which spread from Minbya to as many as nine areas covering Mrauk U, Kyauk Phyu, Myaebon,Yathedaung, Kyauktaw, Pauktaw, Yanbye and Thandwe, was reportedly put under control on Oct. 27 and the situation there is now returning to normal.

The authorities said that legal actions have been taken against 1,058 people involved in the communal violence from June 8 to Oct. 26 which undermined the stability of the Rakhine state.

A state of emergency has been declared in Rakhine state since June 10 along with imposition of dusk-to-dawn curfew in six already affected townships -- Maungtaw, Buthidaung, Sittway, Thandwe, Kyaukphyu and Yanbye.

The curfew was extended to Kyauktaw on Aug. 8 and then to Minbya and Mrauk U on Oct. 22 bringing the total number of townships under curfew to nine so far.

A series of bloody incidents, which took place in May-June, triggered series of deadly unrest and violence in the Rakhine state starting with Maungtaw township on June 8.

The Myanmar government, on Aug. 17, formed a 27-member investigation commission, aimed at exposing the real cause of the conflict in the western Rakhine state in May-June that have undermined peace and stability and rule of law in the region.

blog comments powered by Disqus