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Buthidaung police have confirmed that a bomb exploded this morning inside a two-storey building within the compound of a mosque in Mee Kyaung Zay village in Buthidaung, northwestern Arakan State. No casualties have been reported.
Speaking to DVB by telephone, Tun Naing, a police officer at the local Taung Bazar police station, said the blast occurred inside a building that served both as a mosque and madrassa.
Tun Aung Thein, an MP for Buthidaung Township, confirmed that he had been told a similar version of what happened. “I heard that the bomb went off inside the mosque,” he said.
More than 1,700 people live in Mee Kyaung Zay village, which is 10 miles north of Buthidaung town.
On 19 September, three bomb blasts were reported on the road connecting Minbya and Mrauk U in Arakan State, damaging an express bus and a truck, but causing no serious personal injuries.
Meanwhile, Japan has announced that it will donate US$1 million in emergency assistance to the ongoing crisis in Arakan State, which has to date resulted in hundreds of deaths and an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh.
Speaking in Naypyidaw yesterday afternoon, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii reportedly commented that he felt the international response to Burma’s handling of the Arakan Crisis had been “harsh”.
Meanwhile, Burma’s Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing yesterday warned that many sources were exaggerating the claims of violence by Burmese troops in Arakan State.
Speaking at a ceremony in Arakanese capital Sittwe, Min Aung Hlaing said, “When a region is in a state of unrest, Tatmadaw [Burmese army] columns will be sent in to restore tranquility … But some are watching us just to find faults. That’s why we are taking extra care to ensure that all security measures proceed in accordance with the law. Some sources are ready and willing to exaggerate [claims]. Many, both inside and outside of the country, seek to cause problems. We need to be aware of such parties.”
The Burmese military chief called for the public’s cooperation in helping the Tatmadaw restore peace and tranquility in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung areas, and he urged displaced “ethnic” locals to return to their villages.
Recent references by the military or the government to “ethnic” peoples have generally been regarded as referring to any of the 135 recognised indigenous peoples of Burma, but not the Rohingya community.
“It is necessary that ethnic villagers return to their respective villages,” he said. “It is important that we have our ethnic people residing on our territory. The ethnic people should have control of the land. Without ethnic villagers residing in those villages, there is nothing we can do.”