Tuesday, February 4, 2014

U.N. and international agencies are "fuelling conflict" - ALD

The Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) has warned U.N. agencies, diplomatic missions and news outlets that their reports would be responsible for fuelling more violence in Rakhine State.

The ALD held a press conference in Yangon on Wednesday to rebuke international condemnation over the reported killing of over 40 Muslim villagers in a series of revenge attacks in Du Char Yar Tan village, northern Rakhine State, between January 8 and 14.

"Forty deaths are highly sensitive to us. Rakhine people fear that their native home will be occupied. As external organisations are fuelling the situation, further conflicts will be happening," said Oo Oo Hla Myint, executive of the ALD.

Oo Oo Hla Myint went on to explain that the fabricated news caused the Muslim villagers to prepare for hostilities.

The Associated Press first reported the killings which began on January 9 when armed gangs attacked Muslim villagers in retaliation for the abduction and killing of a police officer.
A subsequent U.N. investigation confirmed initial reports that 48 Muslim villagers had been killed in the latest bout of sectarian violence between security forces, Rakhine groups and Muslim Rohingya, who are locally called Bengali.

The area is currently out-of-bounds to local and international journalists and security forces have imposed restrictions that make it harder to verify reports.

"As Maungdaw has less ethnic Rakhine people than Bengalis, the former is now moving to safer places. That further violence might occur has already been warned. If so, those who release the false news will be responsible for that," said the ALD in a statement.

In the press conference they also criticised international agencies for neglecting to mention the death of Police Sgt Aung Kyaw Thein, who was killed by Rohingya villagers in an incident that is supposed to have sparked retaliation attacks.

"These fabricated news cause unnecessary doubts between the two groups in Rakhine State to rise and can lead to further conflict," continued Oo Oo Hla Myint.

"Such false news ensures to help those wishing to encroach the sovereignty of the country under the pretext of human rights."

Rakhine State has been off-limits to foreign journalists and access for humanitarian aid workers is severely restricted. 
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