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Junta confesses looting WFP warehouse, took away 2,000 rice bags

Narinjara News, 28 June 2024


The military junta has admitted that their officers looted the World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Maungdaw town of Rakhine State.


Major general Zaw Min Tun, leader of the information team of the junta also confessed that they took away 2,000 bags of rice grains.


"Since the rice bags were intended to support the Maungdaw refugees, the security forces distributed one bag of rice grains  to each household in ward-1, ward-2, ward-3, ward-4, Ka Nyin Tan ward and Maung Ni ward on 22 June,” he added.


Zaw Min Tun officially confessed the act on 27 June through the military-owned newspapers.


But he did not reveal if the junta obtained the necessary permission from the WFP, a United Nations organization in Myanmar, before looting the rice bags.


A Muslim resident reported that on 22 June, the junta soldiers distributed the rice bags to Muslim residents of Maungdaw, persuading them to support the junta.


These rice bags were distributed among  2,019 households in Maungdaw, including 190 households in ward-1, 613 households in ward-2, 104 households in ward-3, 187 households in ward-4, 606 households in Ka Nyin Tan ward and 319 households in Maung Ni ward, reported the military-sponsored media outlets.


Zaw Min Tun also stated that they began moving the warehouse items to nearby safe locations  from 21 June to prevent those from falling into the Arakan Army’s hands. He also disclosed that the AA fighters conducted drone reconnaissance on 22 June and bombed the WFP warehouse.


"The military junta remains a responsible organization in the country.  Did they inform the WFP in Yangon before looting these rice bags or did they notify them after the act under the law? The WFP's statement also did not mention any such initiative. Taking materials from an international organization without necessary permission and distributing those independently is always unacceptable. It constitutes an act of violence," commented a Maungdaw-based Arakanese politician.


An  AA statement along with a video clipping claimed that on 21 June at  around 5 pm, the junta soldiers and some armed Muslims collaborated to burn down the WFP warehouse along with several houses in Wai Thar Li village under Maungdaw locality.


It also mentioned that some packages, believed to contain cement, were also taken away and used for the defence purpose at district rural office. Mentionable is that Zaw Min Tun's response came after the AA released the statement.


Earlier on 25 June, the WFP issued a strong statement condemning the act of looting and burning of the WFP warehouse, where a total of 1,175 metric tons of life-saving food items were also stored.

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