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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The stance on the terrorist attacks of the extremist Bengalis in Buthidaung-Maungtaw region in Rakhine State

1. As regards the terrorist attacks committed by some extremist Bengalis living in Rakhine State in Buthidaung-Maungtaw region of the state that started on 25 August 2017, in recent days some international organizations, some foreign countries and some foreign media have been releasing news and criticizing Myanmar based on false information. During the incident, about 4,000 extremist Bengalis led by ARSA launched synchronized terrorist attacks against 30 police outposts and one army unit headquarters using superior force under well-hatched plot. In fact the comprehensive knowledge of the incident and its much complicated background situation and historical facts is required.

2. After the end of the First Anglo-Myanmar War that broke out in 1824, a very large number of Bengalis of the Bengal region of India at that time settled in Rakhine State after they were taken into the area as agricultural labourers. Their population growth and their attempts to grab land by driving out the natives -- Rakhine, Daingnet, Thet, Mro, Khami and Maramagyi ethnic people – from the region through violent attacks has led to the eruption of Rakhine-Bengali conflicts. During the Alethankyaw crisis in 1942 a large number of ethnic Rakhine villages were destroyed and thousands of Rakhines killed. The survivors had to flee their homes. The Bengalis are living in the villages which still have the Rakhine names. After the independence was regained, Mujahidin armed insurgency and Rohingya Liberation Party came into being and made attempts to turn Buthidaung, Maungtaw and Yathedaung regions into Arkistan or Rohingya state. In fact, a country can guarantee the citizenship rights only after the citizenship verification program has completed. Those Bengalis are still rejecting the national verification program under the nation’s existing laws despite the numerous persuasions. They are also attempting to set up Buthidaung-Maungtaw region as their liberated area through the stages beginning from the organizational area and the basic area to the hardcore area. These are the true and undeniable history the Bengalis in Rakhine State.

3. Communal clashes broke out when Ma Thida Htwe, an ethnic Rakhine, was raped and murdered by four Bengalis on 8 June 2012 after the country has adopted the multiparty democracy. The clashes spread to Yangon, Mandalay, Meiktila, Lashio and Bago. On 9 October 2016, Bengali terrorists attacked Border Guard Police HQ and three police posts simultaneously. In the incident, ten members of Myanmar Police Force fell, five others were wounded and 68 arms and ammunition were seized. The Tatmadaw has been applying the approach that is under the approval of the government and within the legal framework in dealing with the situation.

4. In the terror incident which happened on 25 August 2017, about 4,000 extremist Bengali terrorists, led by ARSA committed mine blasts and attacks under systematic control with the use of swords, spears, small arms and home-made mines and superior strength in synchronization. There were 38 times of engagements between the security troops and the terrorists the same day. In the incidents, one soldier, 10 policemen and one staff from Immigration Department, totalling 12 sacrificed lives for the State while some were injured. Extremist Bengali terrorists brought six small arms from the police outposts. In performing counter-attacks, two extremist Bengali terrorists were arrested alive and 77 bodies captured.

5. During the terrorist attack, the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services was on a visit to a foreign country. So, on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services met the President and the State Counsellor at their offices. The Deputy Commander-in-Chief presented measures for soonest restoration of regional peace and stability and the rule of law. The President’s Office declared a military operation zone as of 25 August. The Commander-in-Chief and the President held a separate meeting on 4 September. The Commander-in-Chief received directives from the President. The President gave instruction to make reinforcements for having an adequate number of troops and to strengthen the border fence. Before such incident, some military units performed area clearance operations acting on tip-off that terrorists took training to do terror attacks and timely arrival of military forces could save lives of security forces and local people in Buthidaung-Maungtaw region. After 5 September 2017, no engagement happened and extremist Bengali terrorists fled into other country. From 25 August 2017 to 5 September, the security forces engaged with ARSA extremist Bengali terrorists 97 times. In the incidents, 13 members of security forces and two government service personnel died in action and 15 members of security forces and three government service personnel were wounded. A total of 371 extremist Bengali terrorists were captured dead and 38 arrested alive. In the terror attacks and killing of the terrorists, 14 local ethnic people, seven Hindu Bengalis and seven Islamic Bengalis, totalling 28 lost their lives and four local ethnic people were injured. According to the follow-up investigations, Bengali terrorists abducted more than 90 Hindus from Yebaukkya Village from Maungtaw Township and brutally killed them. A total of 45 dead bodies of murdered Hindus were excavated near Bawtalar Village on 24 and 25 September. Some of them were still missing and some were taken to other country.

6. With regard to the terrorist attacks of extremist Bengalis led by ARSA, security forces responsible for regional stability, rule of law and to protect the local people, are instructed and supervised to act accordingly and differentiate armed violent attacks, adhere to proportionality and rule of engagement, rule of defensive engagement in case of attacks on security forces and innocent civilians, and to abide by code of criminal procedures when Tatmadaw had to intervene in dispersing unlawful assembly of mobs. Security forces took actions in accordance with the law, and did not overstep the law.

7. Concerning the 2016 October attacks, 12-member Rakhine State Investigation Commission led by Vice-President U Myint Swe was formed on 1 December 2016 to investigate if actions were taken in line with law. Another investigation team led by Tatmadaw Inspector-General Lt-Gen Aye Win was formed on 17 February, 2017, and investigation led by Police Brig-Gen Win Tun on 9 Feb, 2017 was also formed to investigate if the actions of security forces were in line with law. Legal actions were taken in three cases found out by the Tatmadaw investigation team. The team is also investigating if Tatmadaw discharged their duties in line with law in August, 2017 incident. If any wrongdoing is found, it will be dealt with the law.

8. The ARSA consisted of around 4,000 people carried out the terror attacks that launched on August 25, 2017, organizing local Bengalis. According to the testimonies of those involved in the terror attacks and witnesses, we got the list of names and villages of 2,222 people involved in the terror attacks. They have fled to Bangladesh where the people whose faith, race and culture are similar to those. Some ethnic Rakhines, some Bengali Hindus and some Muslims fled to Buthidaung, Maungtaw and Sittway which they assumed were safe places for them. Now they are returning to their homes because of the restoration of the regional peace. As regards the terrorist attacks, security forces and administrative bodies did not make any threats to force people out of their homes. In fact those who felt unsafe because of the terrorist attacks fled to the other country. In Buthidaung and Maungdaw regions, there remain Bengali villages which are not involved in the terror attacks and Bengali villages where only some villagers have fled. There are a lot of news that extremist Bengali terrorists set fire to houses, threaten those who remain in villages and persuade them to flee to Bangladesh and other countries. Myanmar government and Bangladeshi government are making negotiations to verify and accept the Bengalis who fled. The acceptance program will be conducted within the framework of the provisions stipulated in the Joint Declaration signed by the foreign ministers of both countries on 28 April 1992 and the 1982 Citizenship Law.

9. During the terrorist attacks the Tatmadaw helped in removing the ethnic natives whose lives are in danger to safe places without making any discrimination against race and religion, provided aids and other assistance for displaced persons, provided healthcare services through the Tatmadaw mobile health units, transported the relief aids donated by the people in the whole country right to the refugee camps by military trucks, boats and aircraft in time. The provision of the humanitarian aid in Rakhine State must be fair and square. The Tatmadaw is helping the government, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and the Rakhine State government in distributing the aids.

10. One-sided statements and accusations against Myanmar and security members over the terror attacks of extremist Bengalis in the west of Rakhine State are totally untrue and the intentional acts done under the pretext of the facts such as human rights and humanitarians may hamper national security and national interest.

Tatmadaw True News Information Team


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