The coordinated violent attacks on the command center of No. 1 Border Guard Police Force (Kyikanpyin), Ngakhuya and Kotankauk posts claimed the lives of nine Myanmar Police Force members, with various weapons and ammunition looted.
Local people had to flee their homes in fear as a result of the violent attacks and the instability in the area. Security has been restored to the area and locals are returning home as the paddies they have planted are ripe for harvest and the cattle they left need tending.
The union government, the state government and donor organisations are cooperating in security, support and rescue of the local people. However, foreign-based organisations are distorting the truth through abuse of the media.
Myanmar News Agency interviewed officials and returnees about the situation on the ground.
“We are clearing the area in accordance with the law with three aims, including recapturing the weapons looted by violent attackers, legal action against those who were involved in the violent attacks and legal action against those who cooperated in the violent attacks. This is being done in cooperation with the Tatmadaw, the police and the local people,” Rakhine State Security and Border Affairs Minister Col Htein Win said.
Security and the rule of law strictly enforced
As for the agriculture sector in Maungtaw, Rakhine State Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Mining Minister U Kyaw Lwin said that there were over 80,000 acres of paddy fields in the district with about one thousand acres grown by Rakhine nationals and seven thousand acres by Muslims. However, it is difficult to reap the crops as it has become difficult to hire farm workers. Therefore, officials a arranging to provide 40 harvesting and winnowing machines along with technologies and inputs for them. It is an effort to avoid wastage in the agricultural sector, according to the state minister.
In addition, authorities are providing social and health services to the locals, regardless of their religion.
“We arranged for them to return home, as stability has been restored to the area while field trips were made together with the chief minister of the state. Although staff from sub-township hospitals fled for fear of the violent attacks, township hospitals are still open and patients are still being provided with medical care. The Tatmadaw helped them with the use of helicopters. Now, all of them have been reorganised at Maungtaw and will be sent to clinics in northern Maungtaw including Khamaukseik, Tamintha, Ngakjuya and Taungpyoletwe, according to Rakhine State Health and Social Affairs Minister Dr Chan Tha.
“As for small ethnic villages, mobile health teams will be sent and schools have been reopened since 24 October. Schools at some places were reopened today. Moreover, we are arranging to send ethnic teachers to the schools, he added.
Those who fled their villages in fear were permitted to stay at camps and provided food and other needs.
“Those who fled from Maungtaw were first accommodated in rescue camps under the arrangement of the government, which provided their needs. In Danyawadi camp, there were over 800 people in 36 tents. Now, there are only about 100 left as they have started to go home as stability has been restored to their areas. Foods that are still at the camp will also be sent to Maungtaw. Authorities allow everyone who wants to return home as their native homes are peaceful. We never force them to return home, it is their own wish, said Saw Win, who is in charge of the camp.
Today, about 100 local people returned their homes.
Ma Mya Htwe of Aungmingalar village, Maungtaw Township who took part in transporting said she heard bursts of firearms at 1:15 am on October 9 and they didn’t sleep for the whole night in fear, but they did not dare to flee anywhere, hiding in a place of the village assumed to be safe. Fighting continued for the next day and they had to take their meals in early hours. Then they overheard the news that army troops cleared the village called Wetpeit. Some recounted that Tatmataw found many bullet shells in that village. Now fighting ceased and children and females except for males had to go to rescue camps. All fled their place risking their lives.
She added, “From there we arrived at Sittway rescue camp. We returned to Maungtaw for a few days hearing that there were rescue camps. There we are convenient in everything, provided with food, shelter and medical care. Now we are returning to Maungtaw rescue camp.”
Some returned to their origins for better situations of the area whereas some remained in rescue camps, according to their wishes.
Ma Aye Aye Aung of Maungtaw ward 4 said, “Everybody wants to go back home. While staying at Sittway relief camp, the government provided us with food, clothing, blankets and medical care. Now we are given out 10,000 kyats by the government and 30,000 kyats by CSOs.”—Wai Yan Oo & Kyaw Htike Lin