Sittwe: Fire broke out twice on Sunday in the houses inside the compound of a big mosque that is situated on the Main Road in front of U Oattama Memorial Park in Sittwe in Arakan State.
“It was around 2 pm the smoke started coming out from the mosque’s compound and the firemen and security forces entered the compound and put out the fire. The fire broke out again after 3 pm and they had to put it out again”, said a resident from nearby Mawlate Ward, who witnessed the fire.
The resident said there are five houses made of bamboo and roofed with thatches within the compound of the big mosque and two of the houses were gutted in the fire.
“There are five hut-like houses inside the compound and only two of them were burned in the fire, but nothing happened to the mosque because it is a very strong brick-building”, he said.
“Since we saw the smoke coming out from the compound, we found over 100 soldiers and police had already arrived. The fire also broke out again there just after an hour. No people coming from outside were allowed to come close to the compound. So, I think it was impossible for the outsiders to set fire to the houses there”, he said.
When asked about the rumors that surround the incident as the Arakanese people had attacked the big mosque and also besieged the Aung Mingalar Ward to attack, he said, “It is not true. It is a habit here people will come out to see if something happens. It became a big mob near the compound of the mosque because so many people came out to see the incident. So, they are just dishonest allegations on the people.”
When an official of the regional government was contacted concerning the incident over phone, he also said, “It was just a small fire and the firemen put it out on time. There are also security forces being deployed near the mosque and they are now carrying out investigations on the fire.”
U Aung Mra Kyaw, a lawmaker of the state parliament, also said the brick-wall being fenced around the compound of the mosque is as tall as three men’s heights and there are security forces maintaining 24-hour security for the mosque at the two main gates of its compound since long ago, adding that it would not be possible for the outsiders to set fire to the houses inside its compound.