Authorities start arresting suspects of recent violence in Arakan

Min Bya: The Burmese army and police have started arresting Arakanese men who are suspected of involvement in the communal riots that broke out last October in Arakan State, according to the local residents.

A female resident from Pan Myaung Village in Minbya Township said the army has already arrested two men and still is searching for more suspects from her village and other nearby villages.

“Myint Naing from the saloon in our Pan Myaung Village and Maung Htay Sein from Kyaungtaung Village were taken under arrest by the army few days ago. The army is still looking for 10 more suspects from our villages and many villagers have now fled their homes in fear of arrest”, said the woman.

Pan Myaung is one of the big villages in Minbya Township and two Arakanese men from the village were killed by shots from the army during the communal strife. The army is said to have been raiding the village and other nearby village to arrest the villagers who are suspected of involvement in the arson attack on nearby Muslim Tharak Oak Village.

The woman said it has been already three times since the army raided the villages to arrest the suspects.

A villager from Apaukwa Village in Kyauktaw Township also said the similar arrests have been made in the villages in the township and many villagers from his village have been hiding and have run away from the village fearing arrest.

“We have heard that the district court has issued an order to arrest 10 people from our village, but we do not know who are included in that order. The police have already raided our village twice and the suspects have already fled their homes. We still have not heard of any action being taken against the Muslim villagers in our area”, said the villager.

He said dozens of people from Doke Kan Chaung, Rwa Thike Kay and Goke Pe Daunt Villages that are situated near his village have also been arrested and many people from those villages have fled their homes as well.

Six people from Mrauk U Township are still being remanded in police custody in Sittwe for investigating the recent communal riot in the area. They are identified as U Zaw Moe Naing and U Zaw Moe Tun from Yaingthe Village, U Tin Hla from Laymrothar Village and U Pray Thein Aung, U Maung Kyaw Hlaing and U Maung Thein from Thanrhonpyin Village respectively.

61 Arakanese men were killed in June and October’s riots in Arakan State. 11 of them were killed by the shootings of the Burmese army.