Sittwe riot damages Arakanese image: RNDP leader

Sittwe riot damages Arakanese image: RNDP leader

The sight of mobs attacking homes and offices of international NGOs in Sittwe is damaging to the image of the Arakanese community, a leading local politician told DVB on Friday.

Hla Saw, secretary of the Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP), said that “many of the international organisations involved in the region are working for the benefit of the entire community”.

He said that the incidents on Wednesday and Thursday, when a Buddhist mob ransacked and threw stones at INGO offices and residences, was “a loss for the Rakhine [Buddhist Arakanese] people as the impact from these actions will be negative.”

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“The Bengalis [Rohingya Muslims] have been trying to damage our reputation in many ways,” the RNDP secretary complained. “Now we will be seen in a negative light by the international community. It is totally unacceptable.”

By Friday, the situation in Sittwe had returned to normal,  he added.

According to President’s Office spokesman Ye Htut, writing on social media, Gen Hla Htay Win of the Ministry of Defence had arrived in Sittwe to lead the security effort.

Despite numerous calls by DVB to various State and Union government bodies and to local police chiefs, no official was willing to confirm whether arrests had been made nor what action had been taken by the authorities to appease the situation.

Kyaw Khin, the secretary of the All Myanmar Muslim Association, said both the Union and State governments were responsible for security as focus turned to the possibility of attacks on the Rohingya minority who are sheltered in the enclave of Aung Mingalar district in Sittwe.

“The refugees in Sittwe cannot go outside their camp,” he said. “We are calling on the authorities to guarantee their security.”

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