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Riot police training held in Taunggok

Sep 2, 2008 (DVB), About 52 riot police officers took part in a training session in Taunggok township in Arakan state yesterday morning in what was believed by locals to be a show of force to discourage protests.

The training was led by Taunggok township police chief U Win Aung and the 52 officers were seen marching from the police station along U Oattama road between 7 and 8am.

A local resident said most of the officers were not from the township, and unlike the local riot police they were armed with sticks, swords and slingshots.

"About two thirds of the 52 riot police were unfamiliar faces, they were not the local police officers we know," the resident said.

Locals speculated that the training was being conducted openly in the township to intimidate Taunggok residents, who have been very politically active in the past.

Military intelligence officials and Military Affairs Security officers from Naypyidaw are now in Taunggok monitoring the situation.

Security has also been stepped up recently in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan state, after a riot police officer was killed by local youths.

Burmese police chief Khin Yi also visited Sittwe on 28 August, the one-year anniversary of the start of the monk-led protests in Taunggok.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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