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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Explanation of terror attacks by extremist Bengalis in Rakhine State

A Tatmadaw press conference on attacks by extremist Bengali terrorists in northern part of Rakhine State in August 2017 was held at Bayintnaung parlour in Nay Pyi Taw on August 29 from 2 pm to 4 pm. The explanations of Maj-Gen Aung Ye Win at the press conference are as follows:

Background history of Bengalis in Rakhine State

The entering of Bengalis into Rakhine State: In 1824, the first Anglo-Burmese War occurred. Rakhine and Taninthayi Regions had been under the control of Colonial rule. Rakhine State was one of the parts of Bangla. In 1839, Rakhine State Grant Law was issued. The region needed many workers as land owners had many acres of land. Bengalis from Chittagong entered the region as workers. Rice production industry improved after the Suez Canal was built in 1869. The green-light was given for the extension of fellow and vacant lands without paying land taxes. Chittagong Muslims and Bengalis from Bangla entered Rakhine State in drove to do farming. It is found that there has been further infl ux of Bengalis in Kyauktaw, Myohaung (Mrauk-U), Maungtaw and Buthidaung Township since 1879. In 1916, Chittagong Muslims came to the region to work in the railroad project that link Maungtaw and Buthidaung Townships. Since then, they have been living there without going back home. In the past, those Bengalis went home after harvesting paddy. Later, they have been settling there. It is found that their biggest inflow into Rakhine State is in the time of the Colonial era.

Conflicts between local Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis:

Rakhine State sees an increasing number of Bengali populations. Later the Bengalis in Rakhine State drove out the natives including Rakhine, Dainet, Mro, Khami and Maramagyi. Conflicts between Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis occur as Bengalis try to establish a separate region. The apparent one is Alethankyaw conflict that occurred in 1942. Bengalis carried out violent attacks on local Rakhine ethnics by using arms left behind by the British who retreated from Myanmar because of Japanese offensive, destroying 152 villages and killing around 20,000 Rakhine ethics. For example Buthidaung/ Maungtaw region was originally the home of Rakhine people. Villages with Rakhine names such as Myothagyi Village, Waithali Village, Ooshekya Village have become Bengali Villages at present. Bengalis started a campaign for the establishment of a separate state, after forming Mujahid group in Sinowpyin Village, about three miles of Buthidaung Township on September 30, 1948. In around 1966, Mujahid tried to establish Arkistan in the west part of Maungtaw, Buthidaung and Yathedaung townships. Additionally, they formed Rohingya National Liberation Party. Mujahid group carried out unrests and violence in northern Rakhine State in 1969. But in 1974, they broke into pieces and moved to a neighbouring country due to the Tatmadaw (military) offensive attacks.

When Myanmar was trying to govern the country and draft the constitution by establishing Burma Socialist Programme Party, Bengalis demanded the authorities to designate Maungtaw and Buthidaung townships as Mayu district and recognize them as Rohingya. Later, Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) was formed by a merger of Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF) based in Bangladesh and Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). The ARIF called on the authorities to establish Maungtaw and Buthidaung townships as an autonomous Rohingya state by getting assistance from foreign extremist Muslim organizations. Then, it carried out military and political activities.

Outbreaks and control of conflicts in Rakhine State in 2012 Conflicts between local Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis in Rakhine State: 

On May 28, 2012, four Bengalis raped and killed Ma Thida Htwe, a Rakhine ethnic girl from Thabyaychaung Village in Yanbye Township, Rakhine State. Since then, conflicts between Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis spread to Yanbye, Sittwe, Buthidaung, Maungtaw, Yathedaung, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships in Rakhine State. In the conflicts, 89 people- 32 Rakhine ethnics and 57 Bengalis were killed and 124 people—52 Rakhine ethnics and 72 Bengalis, injured. The conflicts destroyed 5,338 houses— 1,150 houses owned by ethnics and 4,188 by Bengalis, 19 mosques, 14 monasteries, three schools and 187 other buildings.

The spread of conflicts to other regions:

Conflicts between local Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis turned into religious conflict and spread to Meiktila, Lashio, Yangon, Bago, Kanbalu and Mandalay, resulting in the killings and injuries and destruction of ouses. In the conflicts, many people were killed and injured and houses and buildings lost. There were unrest, violence, killings and arson attacks in the said cities and towns. In the conflicts, 56 people were killed, 62 injured and 1,370 houses were destroyed. Control measures to bring peace and stability to conflict affected regions: On June 8, 2012, the government issued ection 144 to control the situation and ensure peace and security of people in the conflict-hit townships of Rakhine State. On June 10, 2012, the government declared a state of emergency under Section 412 of the Constitution and got the help of the Tatmadaw under section 413 as the unrest and violence became bigger and the government was unable to perform administrative works. On 28 March 2016, Section 412 was revoked due to improving peace and stability.

Violent attacks carried out by Bengalis in Rakhine State in 2016

Conflicts between local Rakhine ethnics and Bengalis that occurred in June 2012, is just unrest and violence. That is to say, it is just a conflict between civilians. On October 9, 2016, Bengalis terrorists carried out attacks on border police headquarters and police outposts simultaneously. In separate attacks, ten police members were killed and five injured and 68 arms and ammunition lost. As arms and ammunition taken by Bengali terrorists are very dangerous for the peace and stability of the region and for the public security, combined security troops including Tatmadaw columns and border guard police members performed area clearance operations but Bengali terrorists planted mines on motor roads and attacked them with the use of superior strength. In 12 skirmishes between security troops and Bengali terrorists, one Tatmadaw officer and six other ranks totalling seven were posthumous and one officer and four other ranks totalling five wounded. 

One officer and nine other ranks from Myanmar Police Force totalling 10 were dead and two officers and four other ranks totalling six wounded. A total of 38 Bengali terrorists were arrested dead and two arrested alive together with seizure of four arms. A total of 30 out of 68 arms of Myanmar Police Force taken by Bengali terrorists were re-seized, remaining 38 ones.

With regard to the terrorist attacks which happened in October 2016, permission was sought from the President Office to designate Maungtaw, Buthidaung and Yathedaung townships as military operation area on 9 October, and military units were quickly moved there as a military operation to start area clearance operation. The operation emphasized reseizure of lost arms in these townships up to 1 February 2017 and peace and stability of the region. Afterwards, the military operation halted as of 2 February and then tasks to control the region continued there.

Heading to terrorist acts in interim period

The group which committed terrorist acts in northern part of Rakhine State in October 2016 was Aqua Mul Mujahidin. It was formed in August 2016. The group with about 140 members was led by Pakistani citizen Abdul Qudus. A 70-member team led by Abdülhamit from the group is staying at refugee camps in Bangladesh without any movements while about 70 members led by Hafiz Tohar secretly made movement in northern part of Rakhine State. Aqua Mul Mujahidin was re-constituted to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 15 March 2017.

Hafiz Tohar, military in-charge, of ARSA declared a demand with 20 points to the Myanmar government on 29 March 2017. Turning a blind eye to peace and stability and rule of law in Maungtaw region, and arrangements of the State for ensuring tranquillity and convenience of the people for their livelihoods, the group secretly planned the terrorist acts. Bengali terrorists designated the Buthidaung/ Maungtaw in northern Rakhine State which was an organizational area as the hardcore area for their movements. They banned Bengalis from working in Rakhine-owned joint-venture farmlands and prawn farms in Buthidaung/ Maungtaw region. They organize the locals that if Bengalis do not join the works, Rakhine ethnic will stop their businesses and left the area. So, they will possess Buthidaung/ Maungtaw region as a liberated land. Hafiz Tohar met with leaders of Aqua Mul Mujahidin in Pakistan and discussed combination with RNSC (Rohingya National Security Committee). Then, the group was renamed ARSA and Hafiz Tohar was appointed as Chief of Staff.

Training for terrorist acts andarrest of Bengali terrorist:

According to the confession of Kadil Husaung from Bengali terrorists who carried out organizational tasks, arrested in Thaykan Village on 15 June 2017, tunnels were found on Mayu mountain ranges and evidences were found for training affairs. In combing the tunnels, some Bengali terrorists who defended the security troops were arrested dead, and home-made guns, wooden training guns, huts and gunpowder were seized. Likewise, a tarpaulin tank where Bengali terrorists were temporarily based and rations were found on Mayu mountain ranges on 30 July 2017.

Similarly, arrest of Bengali terrorists and seizure of arms and equipment were as follows:-

- Four Bengalis who attended the terrorist course with 14 homemade guns were arrested during the conducting of area clearance operation around Maunggyitaung Village on 4 January 2017
- Two bags of gunpowder (about 7/5 Pyi) and about one five-Pyi bag of carbon powder were seized in Theni (Mro) Village in Kyaungtaung Village-tract on 7 May 2017 after an explosion which killed two and injured three while conducting area clearance operations -

Three home-made guns, ten rubber bullets, two blank rounds and seven 5.56 bullets seized in performing area clearance operation around Thawunchaung Village on 26 May 2017 during area clearance operations

- One Bengali who attended terrorist course was arrested in conducting area clearance operation around Layyinkwin Village on 29 May 2017. According to investigation, it is revealed that a terrorist course was conducted at the home of Gawdu Huhsaung of the same village. Ks-200,000 was paid as monthly salary for one person. It is known that some foreign countries were providing financial to instructor Habat Matala 

- 40 Baofeng brand walkie-talkies with 16 different lines and related equipment seized in clearing the region near Chaungkalar Village on 31 May 2017.
Killing innocent villagers with terrorist acts by Bengali terrorists:

Many people were dead, injured and arrested as well as went missing in the terrorist acts of extremist Bengali terrorists in northern Rakhine State after the event of October 2016, and the data compiled up to 27 August 2017 shows as follows:-

- 51 dead Bengalis and nine Rakhine ethnics, totalling 60
- 15 injured Bengalis and one Rakhine ethnic, totalling 16
- 12 missing Bengalis and three Rakhine ethnics, totalling 15
- 17 arrested Bengalis

In butchering innocent villagers, who served as interpreters of Rakhine State Inquiry Commission, administrative bodies, informants of security forces, persons who have connections, and hated persons were mainly targeted. The terrorist are committing such crimes to prevent the leak of their information. They also commit throat cutting in intimidating villagers to become their obedient servants. In other wards they are trying to establish Buthidaung/ Maungtaw region into hardcore/basic area through terror methods. In the recent incidents, three bodies of Mro men and four bodies of Mro women from Kainggyi Village who were killed by Bengali terrorists were found with injuries on 3 August 2017.

Other information related to ARSA:

Arrangements are being made to launch the Jihad holy war in the whole Rakhine State before October 2017, and ARSA has recruited about 1,500 members. Their members in Buthidaung and Maungtaw townships arranged attacks in separate regions. Plans have been made for participation of one member from each house from Bengali villages including ARSA troops, those under their organization and those who have attended the terrorism course.

ARSA group has organized 50 percent of Bengalis in villages from Buthidaung and Maungtaw townships. According to the information, they adopted steps for the plan—the first step for killing Bengalis related to government departments, the second for killing Bengalis who do not accept their control, the third for making local ethnic people flee from there, and the fourth for taking arms/ammunition after attacking border guard police posts. As a result, local ethnics will flee from their native places due to fear of terrorist attacks by Bengalis. Systematic arrangements are being made to enable Bengalis to live in the places of local ethnics.

Meeting and submitting report by Rakhine ethnics:

Chairman of Rakhine National Party Dr.Aye Maung and party called on Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on 9 August 2017 and asked for the following topics related to security measures.

- As the Tatmadaw suspended military operations in Rakhine State in February 2017, security measures became weak.
- The Tatmadaw was urged to beef up security measures as local ethnic people left their residences due to lack of security at villages and in vocational tasks and spreading of rumours.
- The security measures should be speeded up on Mayu mountain ranges where terrorist acts may be rooted because tunnels and terrorist camps were found on Mayu mountain ranges, Bengali terrorists killed local Mro ethnic people and packages of long-term preserved rations from WFP were found.

The meeting between the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and Mr. Kofi Annan:

Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing received the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by Mr. Kofi Annan on 24 August 2017. At the meeting, the Senior General gave advice to Mr. Kofi Annan to comprehensively study the true and actual historical facts explained in the previous meetings as suggestion over the issues of Rakhine State needed to be true. As NVC cards mentioned in the report are basic needs for scrutinizing and analyzing citizenship and permission for citizenship of those Bengalis under the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law, they need to register without fail. With regard to the assignment of security troops, the Senior General discussed participation of the Tatmadaw at the defence level of the issue which Buthidaung and Maungtaw region could not be controlled by administrative machinery and ordinary police force in performing rule of law , security and defence step by step, need of the report issued by the commission to consider attitudes of the government, the Tatmadaw and local people, and importance of local Rakhine ethnic people to accept the report.(To be continued)


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