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Muslim villages in Sittwe forced to build guard posts to keep watch AA activities

Narinjara News, 22 July 2022

The military council has forced the Muslim villages under Sittwe township to build guard posts (sentry posts) to keep watch Arakan Army (AA) activities.

An elderly Muslim villager informed Narinjara News that the reason for asking to build  guard houses was to keep an watch on the probable movement of Arakan Army members around the villages.

“The villagers have started building sentry posts in the last few days. They are using their own money as the military council has not offered any financial support. Now we have to keep vigil every night which becomes a difficult job for us,” added the Muslim villager.

A guard house costs more than Kyats 200,000. Moreover, one person from each house has to keep watch from 8 pm to 5 am every day.

Another Muslim resident from Thetkay Pyin village said that the AA/ ULA members sometime come to their village and they also leave accordingly. The government forces want to know their movement and activities. So whenever a Rakhine stranger enters into the village, it has to be reported to 354th battalion immediately, he added.

Muslim villages, located at the cantonment areas of 373 artillery units, LIB 354 LB 270, communication (signal) battalion no 818 army based in Sittwe township, have been ordered to follow the order.

In an average 12 to 30 Muslim villagers are required to be on duty in the guard houses every night. Those fail, a fine of Kyats 30,000 to 60,000 has been imposed by the army.

"The people are very poor and most of them are daily wage earners. If they have to keep a vigil for the whole night, how will they work next day? If it continues for a longer period, they will only starve,” commented a resident from Dar Pai village under  Sittwe township.

Narinjara News contacted the security & border affairs minister Kyaw Thura over telephone, but he did not respond. The AA spokesperson U Khaing Thukha has also been contacted and waited for his version.

Since 18 July, following  a gun battle between the AA and Burmese soldiers in northern areas of Maungdaw township, there emerged a tense situation in Rakhine State.

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