No communal violence, but minor fire incidents: Maungdaw police chief

Maungdaw entrance gate ( Photo by Narinjara)

( Maungdaw, 26 November 2013) : An enquiry carried by a senior police officer reveals that the incidents related to fire on November  23 last in Maungdaw township of Arakan State were not related to any communal violence.

The Maungdaw district police chief  U Shwe Than, who led the inquiry, claimed that there were two separate fire incidents on that evening, but both the incidents were not carried by any communal element.

“There were two separate fire incidents that took place in Maungdaw on November  23 evening,  but it was not engineered by anybody- neither Buddhists nor the Muslims,” he disclosed.

Replying to the queries of Narinjara, U Shwe Than informed that the incidents of fire in the municipal market broke out because of an individual’s error. The negligence of one shop owner named U Abu Boko can be made responsible for that.

The fire broke out at 7.10 pm from an ignited mosquito coil, which was left behind by U Abu Boko as he went home. The fire was brought under control by the fire service personnel by 8 pm with the help of local Rakhine residents.

The incident resulted in the damage of two shops (no 2B -11 and 2B-12), which were owned by U Abu Boko and Ms Subi Khatu.

The other incident of fire broke out at around 9 pm in the same evening at three mile ward of Maungdaw township,  where a small abandoned mosque made of bamboo & thatch was destroyed. But the district police chief claimed that nobody set the mosque on fire.

“It seems to be impossible for the Rakhine people to torch the mosque as it is located at the outskirts of Maungdaw, where Muslim residents are in majority. We suspect the fire broke out from a cheroot, which was left behind by some careless people in the locality,” the police chief argued.

However, he added that the police team was still investigating the incident to find out the responsible elements behind it.

U Khin Maung from Maungdaw however pointed out that many Rakhine people in the locality believe that it was the handiwork of a group of Muslim people with an aim to create panic situation that would finally draw the attention of international community and would benefit them.