Singapore detains Myanmar nationals accused of Arakan Army links

By AFP

SINGAPORE — Singapore has detained several Myanmar nationals accused of organising support for an ethnic armed group locked in fierce fighting with the military in their country’s troubled Rakhine State, authorities said.

Myanmar’s army has deployed thousands of troops to Rakhine in recent months to try to crush Arakan Army (AA) insurgents, who say they are fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

The country’s western state was the scene of a 2017 military crackdown against its Rohingya Muslims, when hundreds of thousands forced to flee to Bangladesh.

The group targeted in Singapore raised funds and organised support for the AA among the community from their home country, the city-state’s interior ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs is taking action against several Myanmar nationals for using Singapore as a platform to organise and garner support for armed violence against the Myanmar government,” said the statement. 

“This is inimical to Singapore’s security.”

The AA was responsible for “violent attacks” in Myanmar and had been designated a terrorist group by the Myanmar government, it said.

Community events were used “to propagate the AA’s cause and to rally support for the Rakhine ‘fatherland'”, and one of the people being probed has a direct relationship with a key AA leader.

The ministry declined to say how many people were detained, or disclose their identities.

But it said those found to be “involved in activities of security concern” would be deported.

Violence between the military and the AA in Rakhine has forced more than 30,000 people from their homes in the area in recent months. 

Myanmar authorities have vowed to crush the AA rebellion, which has simmered since the group’s formation in 2009. 

The rebels enjoy widespread support from ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have felt marginalised for decades in one of the country’s poorest states.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar