Pakokku residents slam security forces' inaction

Sep 9, 2008 (DVB), Residents of Pakokku in Magwe division have criticised the actions of government security forces who failed to respond to an attempted robbery that took place in broad daylight.

Despite the heavy security presence in the town to prevent unrest on the anniversary of last September's monk-led demonstrations, guards refused to come to the aid of locals chasing the fleeing robbers.

On 5 September, two unknown armed men attempted to rob a mini-mart in ward 12 near the PDC office, but fled the store empty-handed after two women who were in the shop started screaming.

People in the neighbourhood and at the nearby Pakokku hotel came out onto the street and started chasing the robbers but residents said that the security forces, who were deployed about four electricity poles away from the scene, did nothing to help.

Barbed wire fences have been seen in the town since the beginning of this month and armed security forces have been deployed in bushes on sentry duty during the night.

During the day, government officials in civilian clothing have been seen around the West lecturing monastery known as Mandalay monastery which is located between ward 12 and ward 15.

In ward 12, armed and unarmed government security forces were positioned in a ward guesthouse and at the Peace and Development Council office, while in ward 15, government intelligence officials were seen at the USDA office.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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