The Information Committee of the State Counsellor’s Office released this question-and-answer interview on 16 December. The statement confirmed that the attacks were systematically planned in advance and carried out by the Aqa Mul Mujahidin organisation, which is active in Maungtaw, and linked to terrorist groups.
The statement also said that a tour of the Maungtaw area will be given to local and international media starting today until 22 December.
Q – What triggered the recent events in Maungdaw?
A – Since after the conflicts in 2012, Rakhine was a peace and tranquil state where no religious persecution or clashes between different communities existed until 9th of October 2016 when around 400 violent attackers started to commit their surprise night attacks to 3 border outposts in Maungdaw Township. With further numeral attacks carried out by those attackers, the joint combat operations of Tatmadaw and Police forces against them continue till today to restore peace and security in the unsound areas.
Q – Are there any loss of lives or weapons and injuries from the government side in 9/10 attacks on 3 border outposts?
A – Yes, there were some tragic losses and wounded. As a result of these attacks, 9 members of the Myanmar Police Force were killed, and 51 weapons of various types and 10130 rounds of assorted ammunition, 47 bayonets, and 164 magazines were lost. Following the defensive actions of the police, the bodies of 8 attackers were found, and 2 attackers were captured alive. 1 homemade pistol, 2 rounds of ammunition, and 1 magazine were seized. Apart from 26 weapons, which recouped back amid of 67 weapons lost from both Tatmadaw and Police Department, there’re 41 weapons still left to recover until 15-12-2016.
Q – Who or which group led these 3 strikes?
A – According to the initial findings of the interrogations of the captured two, the attacks in Maungtaw Township were systematically planned in advance over a long period of time, assisted by foreign funding and the support of members of foreign terrorist organizations. The attacks were carried out by the Aqa Mul Mujahidin organization which is active in Maungtaw, and linked to the RSO terrorist groups. . The leader of the Aqa Mul Mujahidin is Havistoohar, a religious and social extremist. On 11th October, Havistoohar published a video to social network which was contained a declaration of Jihad on Myanmar. He similarly broadcast several footages aiming to boost foreign funding and supports.
Q – Are there any similar attacks happened since after the 9/10 incidents?
A – Yes, there are. Overall, 11 additional strikes were prevailed all over the infected areas. So far, seven members of the Tatmataw have given their lives and three wounded, two weapons lost and four strikers were shoot to death.
Q – What has the Government managed to do regarding ending the tragic Rakhine conflicts? What will be the further actions?
A – We specified these areas as operation field on the day that armed attackers carried out the 9/10 incidents and issued curfew under section 144. One more fact is that the Government is tackling the events by forming a Central Committee for the Implementation of Peace and Development in Rakhine State chaired by the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Su Kyi since 30th May 2016. Moreover, the Government is striving to get solution by founding Rakhine Advisory Commission led by Mr. Kofi Annan. In addition, State Counsellor Office Information Committee has been formed. Investigation Commission led by Vice-President U Myint Swe has also been formed and ran to take actions. Furthermore, aids have been supported quite a few times for local people living in Maungtaw. Humanitarian aids have been given by such authorities as Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement, Ministry of Border Affairs, Rakhine State Government and such international organizations as UNHCR and WFP, and local volunteers and donors since 4th November. Additional assistances are continuously supplied to the required villages. In terms of free media opportunity, Independent Media Team which includes local and international presses will take a tour within Maungtaw region from 19th to 22nd December. It has been announced to return back the weapons taken by violent attackers in the concerned areas. Peace is the only way to resettle today’s conditions and it will certainly take time to bring peacefully coexisted communities.
(State Counsellor’s Office Information Committee)