Narinjara News

 

High Security Alert in towns of Northern Arakan

 

Sittwe Dec 15:  In the northern towns of the Arakan State, namely Sittwe (Akyab),

Buthe Daung, Rathe Daung, Maung Daw, the local authority has increased the

security arrangements due to the fear of communal violence between

Arakanese Buddhists and Muslim communities.

 

"Though there is no official curfew in Sittwe, those found on the street

after 10 pm have been arrested by the military.  They cannot be bailed

out.  The troops are everywhere through out the city, as they were in the

Coup of 1988.  They are guarding every street corner," a city resident

said.

 

Due to the fear of communal violence, which had been intense in the middle

of mainland Burma, the security forces have been more apparent in the

northern towns of Arakan.

 

"There is heightened security in Sittwe and Maung Daw. Recently there was

a brawl between an Arakanese student and a Muslim youth.  There were some

security scares, but the authority managed to contain it in time. However,

Maung Kyaw Zin Khant, a protagonist of the brawl, is still missing.  There

was also a group of Muslims, who wanted to stir up the community, which

set

alight the Muslim religious school.  This is why the authorities of these

two towns are really careful with the communal problems," said a Maung Daw

resident.

 

Those civilians, who stay on the streets of Sittwe after 10 pm, are

accused of being political dissidents and many of them are still in

detention.

 

In 1942, on the eve of Japanese invasion into Burma, the communal violence

spread into Arakan and resulted in violent clashes between Arakanese and

Muslim residents of Arakan, leaving tens of thousands of people dead.

Since then, the two communities have been at odds.