A delegation led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees travelled to Arakan State on Sunday, visiting the troubled region less than a week after security forces there were put on high alert amid a spate of recent killings that the government has blamed on “terrorists.”
Children as young as 10 years old are among hundreds of Rohingya Muslims detained on charges of consorting with insurgents, according to a police document seen by Reuters that sheds new light on Burma’s security campaign in the country’s northwest.
Two members of Burma’s security forces were injured in a clash with militants on the troubled Arakan State border with Bangladesh, the State Counsellor’s office said, casting doubt on the government’s claim that the region had stabilised.
Locals in seven townships across Arakan State staged protests on Friday against a new radio station broadcasting in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships and providing Rohingya-language programming, which the protesters view as legitimising the Rohingya population.
Arrests of Muslims suspected of involvement in the deadly 9 October assault on border police posts in northern Arakan State are continuing, with at least nine men detained over the last week, according to state media.
Yanghee Lee was denied access to conflict-wracked Hpakant and Waignmaw townships in Kachin State this week as she undertakes her fifth visit to Burma in her capacity as UN special rapporteur on the country’s human rights situation.
The commander of the Border Police Force in Arakan State’s Maungdaw township has told local Rohingya communities to cooperate with authorities to help recover a cache of firearms stolen by armed assailants during attacks on border police outposts some two months ago.
The United Nations urged State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday to visit the country’s divided Arakan State to reassure civilians they will be protected amid accusations that soldiers have raped Rohingya Muslim women houses and killed civilians.
Arakan State Advisory Commission chair Kofi Annan’s statement this week that he had been assured humanitarian aid access would be restored to northern Arakan State in the near future has put a tentative, if ill-defined, time table on potentially life-saving assistance.
Rights and aid groups are urging Burma’s government to allow access to displaced populations in northern Arakan State amid tightened security following a series of attacks on border police nearly two weeks ago.