Myanmar Forces Capture 8 More Suspected Maungdaw Attackers

myanmar-soldiers-maungdaw-twp-oct21-2016.jpg Myanmar army soldiers patrol a village in Maungdaw township, western Myanmar's Rakhine state, Oct. 21, 2016.

Myanmar security forces in Rakhine State have captured eight more people suspected of involvement in the deadly border post attacks in Maungdaw early this month, the army-owned newspaper Myawaddy reported on Friday.

Myawaddy said the eight were arrested Thursday in Ngasakyu village after forces detected suspicios movements. They were believed to have joined insugents fighting against government army near Pyaung Pike Village and were sent to the Kyi Kan Pyin border guard police headquarters, the military newspaper said.

Two more people who are believed to have been involved in the attack were arrested Thursday, based on the testimony of a captured insurgent, Myawaddy added.

While the military reported the arrests, the Arakan Army (AA), an armed ethnic group representing Buddhists in Rakhine State, said in a statement it would cooperate with “any” group in the effort to defeat Maungdaw attackers.

AA spokesman Maj. Min Myat said the AA has held discussions with Rakhine leaders and will collaborate on border security efforts.

Min Myat's statement also said that the Oct. 9 attack in Maungdaw represented collaboration by domestic and external militant groups who exploited the lack of trust between majority Burmans and ethnic minority groups.

Army soldiers and police swept into northern Rakhine state after nine officers died in raids on three border patrol stations in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships near Myanmar's border with Bangladesh on Oct. 9. The attack prompted the government to mobilize army soldiers and border police to sweep the Maungdaw area for 400 other people, believed to be local Muslims, thought to have been involved in the attacks.

The government has accused an extremist Muslim terrorist organization funded by Islamists abroad for the attack, and have locked down the area to search for the perpetrators. Muslim Rohingya groups have asserted that security forces deployed in Maungdaw have committed rape and other forms of violence under the cover of the antiterrorism campaign.

Security forces have killed about 30 alleged terrorists and captured more than 50 others, but only regained 10 of the roughly 50 guns that the terrorists stole during the attacks on the border patrol stations, government spokesman Zaw Htay, who is also deputy director-general of the President’s Office, said this week.

Reported by Thiha Tun for RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Paul Eckert.


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