180 handmade guns were seized during the renewed violence that took place over the last week in Arakan State, according to a statement from the Presidential office.
The seized guns were said to be locally made and of the type that uses gunpowder.
Local residents are said to have made the guns with the help of those skilled in gun making after the violence began in June and have used them in attacks during the recent wave of conflict between the two communities.
U Aung Mra Kyaw, a lawmaker from the state parliament of Sittwe, said that the local authorities are now keeping a close watch on the iron shops in every town in Arakan State. Security forces had raided some shops in Sittwe as well.
“The authorities in Sittwe launched the sudden raids on some four iron shops in the town a few days ago. They mainly inspected them for the iron pipes and materials that are used for making guns, but no action was taken against the dealers during their raids”, said U Aung Mra Kyaw.
It is learnt that purchases of iron materials such as pipes and rods that are used for making guns, spears and machetes have increased among local residents after unrest began in June.Now some restrictions have been imposed on the iron shops in the region for selling such materials.
The army is still on an operation to search and seize handmade guns in rural villages in Arakan State as well. However local news reports that army personnel have been forcibly extorting money from the villages on accusations of possessing firearms in their operations.
The Rakhine Straight View, a local news agency, reported that Captain Thet Naing Maung and soldiers of the LIB (375) have forcibly collected Kyat 50,000 from Sin Owe Shay Village, Kyat 30,000 from New Sin Owe Shay Village, Kyat 30,000 from Byarla Village and Kyat 50,000 from Paikseik Village respectively, by accusing the villages of possessing guns during their operation on the 28th of October in Mrauk-U Township.
It is also reported that rural villages in Kyauktaw, Minbya and Myaybon Townships have suffered from similar extortion during the army operations on handmade firearms as well.
Most of the Arakanese who were killed in the recent violence were victims of the shooting by the army. 4 villagers were killed on the spot and 12 others were injured in Kyauktaw’s Taungbway Village alone due to army’s shootings.
According to the latest statics released by the government on 31st of October, 89 people were killed, 136 people were wounded, 5351 houses were burned down and 32,231 people have become homeless during the new wave of communal violence from the 21st to 28th of October in Arakan State.