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Arakan probe delays publication of anticipated report

The commission appointed to investigate the two bouts of sectarian rioting in western Burma’s Arakan state last year postponed the release of their final report that was set to be published in March.

According to a press statement released yesterday, the publication of the report was postponed to allow the team to hold a follow up a meeting with government officials to discuss evidence that has “links” to areas outside of Arakan state.

The government-mandated commission was established by presidential decree last August.

The 27-member team was ordered to investigate the sectarian riots that erupted in June and again in October in Arakan state, which pitted Buddhist Arakanese against Muslim Rohingyas.

Following the two rounds of rioting, 180 people were killed and more than 120,000 displaced, according to government statistics.

The commission had initially agreed to publish their report in September but pushed back their deadline until 31 March. The team’s report is set to be published on 23 April.

In a note posted on parliamentary MP Shwe Maung’s Facebook wall on Sunday, the representative from Buthidaung constituency in Arakan state slated the government for their inability to prosecute the “terrorists” involved in the rioting last year.

The MP described how the failure to prosecute the individuals responsible for the murder of 10 Muslim pilgrims, who were beaten to death by a mob in Taunggup township last June, allowed for the continuation of sectarian violence in Burma’s restive western state.

“Again no action was taken transparently and effectively. Therefore, terrorists became braver and plotted [a] second phase of violence in October 2012 [which spread] to other townships within a short period.”

The MP said the governments’ failure to prosecute agitators who’ve participated in the latest round of anti-Muslim riots in March could allow for the further spread of sectarian violence in the country.

“All terrorists, involved in the [violence] of Meikhtila and other parts of Myanmar (Burma), should be arrested immediately and actions must be taken against them according to law as soon as possible,” wrote Shwe Maung on Sunday.

“Actions shouldn’t be delayed. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the government to prevent further potential [violence].”

President Thein Sein has made two public statements in the last week stating that continued ethnic strife in the country has tarnished Burma’s image among the international community. The head of state also threatened to use force to prevent the further outbreak of violence.


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