Govt rejects Rakhine militia claims


NAY PYI TAW — The government has rejected rumours that it plans to establish and equip militia forces in Rakhine State.

Spokesman U Zaw Htay said today that the proposed formation of “paramilitary” People’s Militia Forces in Rakhine State was not in line with the policies of either the Union or Rakhine State governments.

The rumours have spread since the killing of at least seven ethnic Mro Buddhists in the Mayu Mountains in early August.

The government has blamed “terrorists” for the attack, a reference ot the insurgent group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

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Zaw Htay said that the “extremists were stepping up their terrorist activities in the region”. In response, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was “working together with the military leadership” so that Tatmadaw forces to negate the terrorist threat, control the Mayu mountain area and protect local people there.

“The government has a priority to wipe out the terrorist actions effectively in order to maintain peace, stability and security in the region,” Zaw Htay said.

Earlier today, a Rakhine-based media group, the Root Investigative Agency, quoted the head of the National League for Democracy’s Sittwe Township branch as saying that the government planned to train and equip local militias comprising ethnic Rakhine.

The report followed demonstrations in 15 Rakhine State towns on Sunday at which protesters called for the formation of militias to combat the Muslim insurgents.

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