“The security situation in Maungdaw is no longer critical since an increased number of government troops were deployed in the area,” said Nyi Pu, the chief minister of Arakan State, speaking during a visit to the ethnic Mro village of Kaing Gyi on 14 August.
“We will take responsibility for security, as well as social and economic issues,” he told a gathered crowd. “Tatmadaw [government troops] and border guard forces have already been positioned along the Mayu mountain range in addition to those already patrolling the valleys. So, there is no need to panic.”
Nyi Pu was addressing the Mro villagers after six men and women were found dead earlier this month with machete slashes and bullet wounds to their bodies. Two other women are still listed as missing.
The Arakan state government has labelled the murders “an act of terrorism”.
The Arakanese chief minister said on Monday that the state government will provide two months’ supplies of rice, cooking oil, salt and beans to the villagers of Kaing Gyi.
In the wake of the murders, residents in Kaing Gyi were said to be too afraid to venture outside, even to collect water from wells. Many in the Mro village have requested the state authorities relocate them to a new site.
Meanwhile, Burma’s minister of border affairs has pledged to make the Kaing Gyi situation a “special case” and said the military will oversee security, healthcare, education and economic issues in the area for the time being.
“We will work to the best of our ability to tackle these issues in Kaing Gyi as a special case and will prioritise this area,” said Lt-Gen Ye Aung.
According to the Burmese government, some 60 civilians have been confirmed killed and 33 missing in Maungdaw Township since an attack by insurgents in October led to a security crackdown on the Rohingya community in the area.