Implementation Committee arrives in Arakan; several schools reopen

Implementation Committee arrives in Arakan; several schools reopen

Members of the Committee for the Implementation of Recommendations on Arakan State arrived yesterday in state capital Sittwe, where they met with Nyi Pu, the region’s chief minister.

Nyi Pu and members of his regional government met the delegation at Sittwe airport before escorting them to one of the many camps sheltering internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Arakan, also known as Rakhine.

“The committee members went to an IDP camp in Kyauktaw and will pay a two-day visit to Buthidaung and Maungdaw,” said Min Aung, the spokesperson for the Arakan state government, speaking to DVB.

Burmese President Htin Kyaw appointed the 15-member implementation committee, headed by Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye, to oversee measures aimed at resolving various matters in Arakan State in accordance with recommendations laid down by the Rakhine Commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The recommendations include issues involving: rule of law; inter-communal relations; security; economic development; and the social sector. It is also tasked with successfully closing down all IDP camps in Arakan State.

However, no sooner had Annan’s commission unveiled its conclusions last month when Rohingya insurgents, branded as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, launched a deadly ambush on Burmese police posts near Maungdaw and an army base in Buthidaung, both Rohingya-majority townships in northwestern Arakan. A subsequent military operation aimed at rooting out the insurgents led to ever more bloodshed.

It is estimated that close to 50 percent of the self-identifying Rohingya population, some 400,000 people, have since fled to Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, in Maungdaw today, several schools that had been closed for security concerns in the wake of those attacks were reopened.

“Seven schools will be reopened,” said Khin Aung, the administrator of Maungdaw township education department, speaking to DVB on Monday.

“About half of the schoolteachers who fled the troubled areas have returned,” he said. “That’s more than 700 out of 1,450 teachers at 183 schools.”

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Of 219 schools in Buthidaung, 20 have been reopened, including nine located within military compounds.

“We need to monitor those 20 schools,” said Buthidaung township administrator Nyunt Pe. “If those schools can operate peacefully, we will look at reopening the rest of the schools in this area.”

 

Reporting on schools by Paing Soe

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