Arakanese peace groups demand reorganization as border-guards

Maungdaw: Arakanese peace groups that are accommodated in border township of Maungdaw in Arakan State have put up a proposal to the regional government for reorganizing them as border-guard force like other ethnic peace groups.

Ethnic Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)

A faction of the Arakan Army (AA) and the Burmese Communist Party (Arakan) that surrendered to the Burmese military regime for what is called “exchange arms for peace” in 2001 and 1997 respectively are said to have recently made a demand to the Minister of Security and Border Affairs of Arakan State, Colonel Htin Lin, that they be reorganized as border-guard forces.

“It will not be possible for us to continue to live in this border area if there are not sufficient security forces. The current reinforced security forces will go back to their barracks after completing their mission here. And then who will undertake security for us. We have to ensure our own security by ourselves. So, we have demanded the regional government reorganize us as the border-guard force like in other ethnic regions”, said a leader of the peace groups on condition of anonymity.

He, however, said the government has yet to give its answer to their proposal and it will not be secure for them to continue to live in Maungdaw area if they are not transformed into a border-guard force.

It is also learnt that the local ethnic residents in the border areas are also willing to serve as the peoples’ militias to help guard their areas jointly with the border security forces.

The elders of the residents are said to have proposed their willingness to serve as the people’s militias for their own security to the Administrator of Maungdaw District, U Aung Myint Soe, in their meeting held on 25th of June in Maungdaw.

One of the elders who attended the meeting said the administrator replied to them that higher authorities were also considering forming the people’s militias for sustainable security in their areas.

“The district administrator told us in the meeting that displaced people can return to their homes if they wish because the security forces are now being reinforced in our areas, and that his higher authorities are also considering forming the people’s militias for sustaining self-security after the forces have retreated from our area”,said the elder.

An Arakanese legislator also said the issue of forming border-guard forces for the security of border areas in Arakan State will likely be one of the top agendas that will be discussed in the coming regional parliamentary session.

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