Tuesday, May 21st 2024

Junta compels Muslims to protest against AA in Sittwe

The junta forces have reportedly paid the Muslims in Sittwe township of Rakhine State to protest against the Arakha Army (AA) fighters.


Around 1,000 Muslims launched a protest program starting from Bu May Muslim village under  Sittwe on Saturday where they held banners that read ‘AA is not wanted in Rakhine land’.


"We were pressured by the junta people to join in the protest. They even threaten to incite ethnic conflicts as happened in 2012. Some Muslims are protesting out of fear. Armed military personnel were seen with the protesters," said a Muslim youth, who fled to avoid joining the program.


The junta has also offered incentives Kyats 200,000 to 400,000 to the Muslims, who participated in the protest against the AA. At the  same time, they threatened  actions against those who refused.


On 6 April, Rakhine chief minister summoned many Muslim village administrators and leaders from Sittwe township to his government office and compelled them to organize an anti-AA protest rally on 20 April.


They ordered that over 1,000 Muslim individuals (who are above the age of 18)  from Aung Mingalar, Ma Gyi Myaing, Kathae  and  Bu May wards in Sittwe township along with nearby Muslim villages must participate in the protest.


Major general Zaw Min Tun, spokesperson for the Myanmar junta, however clarified that there was no plan  to incite ethnic or religious conflicts between the Rakhine and Muslim people in Rakhine State. But a Muslim elder revealed that the junta's local administrative bodies were fuelling ethnic conflicts.


"The junta is deliberately stoking up ethnic conflicts between the two communities. Till date both the Rakhine and Muslim people are living peacefully here. As the junta soldiers are  facing defeats in many Rakhine battles, they are fuelling the conflicts. The Muslim community should understand it. Their compliance with the junta's demands may be aroused due to fear for their lives. Nonetheless, we stand united in the Rakhine land,” said a local resident.


In Buthidaung locality, where many people have sought refuge, the junta soldiers compelled Muslims to destroy several Rakhine houses with an intention to fuel ethnic conflicts.


The local Muslims there protested on 19 March against the AA. Similarly on 21 and 22 March, several Muslims staged protests in Sittwe holding banners reading ‘We don't want the AA’.

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