Armed security forces encounter problems with Muslims in two places in Sittwe

Sittwe: Armed security forces encountered problems with Muslim mobs in two different places in Capital Sittwe in Arakan State on 31st of July, said U Aung Mra Kyaw, a legislator of the regional parliament.

He said the first problem occurred in the afternoon in Thaychaung Village in Sittwe between the police escorts and a mob of Muslims who blocked a truck carrying rice to Muslim refugee camps in a nearby village.

“A truck that was carrying rice for the Muslim refugee camps in Manzi Village was blocked by a group of Muslims in Thaychaung Village. There was a police team led by the in-charge of Mingan Police Station escorting the truck following on their motorbikes. While they were trying to convince those Muslims to free the truck, many more Muslim men gathered at the spot to attack them and they had to run away abandoning their bikes and the truck”, he said.

He added that there were only four policemen including the station in-charge and they escaped to the temporary army camp in Manzi Village.

“It seems that the police are not authorized for shooting. So, they fled from the spot without any reaction. What we have heard finally is that the situation there was controlled after soldiers were sent there”, said U Aung Mra Kyaw.

A police officer also confirmed the incident telling that the police who had escorted the rice truck were the in-charge of Mingan Police Station, Pol. Sergeant Phay Than Oo, Constable Aung Shwe and Constable Hla Win, and that they were armed with just one revolver and three rifles.

U Aung Mra Kyaw also said three Muslim men were injured in another incident with the Burmese army in the evening of the same day.

“We have also heard that another incident also happened between the army and villagers in Donepyin Muslim Village outside Sittwe. Four Muslim men from that village are said to have come and called the soldiers from the station near their village to intervene in their own dispute over lands in the village. When the soldiers arrived in the village, the mob of villagers are said to have besieged and attacked them. So, the soldiers had to run away from the village shooting with their guns. We heard that the three Muslim men were injured in the incident”, he said.

U Aung Mra Kyaw said it is likely that the Muslims have created such problems with the intention to complicate the situation in Arakan State while the UN human rights envoy was in Sittwe to investigate the recent unrest.

Narinjara has tried to reach the Muslims in those villages for their comments over telephone, but no connection was so far available from those villages.