Press Release of Investigation Commission on Rakhine State
1. The Investigation Commission on Rakhine State led by Vice-President U Myint Swe, which is formed to investigate violent armed attacks taking place in Maungtaw area, Rakhine State on October 9, November 12 & 13 in 2016, visited sites of armed attacks for inspections of conflict area and investigations of persons concerned in the region, during December 11-13 2016, in order to perform duties conferred upon it under Notification No. 89/2016 of the President’s Office dated 1st December 2016.
2. Having inspected the Ngakhura Border Guard Police Outpost’s regional branch, which was violently attacked on October 9, commission members met with the administrator of Ngakhura village and elders of local residents who profess Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam and asked about their living conditions. During the meeting they disclosed _ “The incidents were caused by violent attackers. Those were not concerned with us. The whole village depends upon the bazaar, which is always crowded with buyers and sellers. It is a meeting place of the villagers. Under the current situations, the bazaar cannot be reopened, causing the stoppage of commodity flows. Thus, our village and nearby ones are finding it difficult for our living.” After hearing their comments, the chairman of the Investigation Commission consulted with the Chief Minister of Rakhine State to ensure the guarantee of their basic rights and an improvement in their living conditions.
3. During meeting with the villagers, the commission said that we hope humanitarian aid provided by the international organizations will be hand over to the local residents as the government of Rakhine State has been distributing those humanitarian aid in accorded with the specifications. The local people expressed that they have got those humanitarian aid well and would also like to take more assistance if possible.
4. Those who were not involved in the attacks have been released while those who are suspected of involvement in the armed attacks are being arrested for investigation. It has been learnt that 48 arrests have been freed so far. In meeting with them, they requested that their family members, who were arrested, will also be released if they were found to be innocent. The commission members discussed with the Rakhine State Cabinet and Myanmar Police Force to make prompt investigations.
5. While the commission members were conducting investigations in the Maungtaw area, a news article appeared in The Guardian and the South China Morning Post website dated 11th December 2016 which read, in part: “A woman named Noor Ayesha, fled from Kyetyoepyin village in Maungtaw, Rakhine State with her daughter, Dilnawaz Begum. Her two daughters were raped and were killed together with her husband. Though she was also raped, she managed to escape. During the raid of the government into the village of Kyetyoepyin, other women were raped too. There were killings in the village.” In regard to this article, commission members went to the village of Kyetyoepyin on December 12, taking time to enquire men and women of different age groups about the event of Noor Ayesha as described in The Guardian website and newspaper. They replied that no incidents of such kind occurred in their village, as described by Noor Ayesha, whom they said they had never seen. When we interrogated the responsible military officials performing their duties in the region, they also replied that there were no similar cases in the region, asserting that they performed their duties in accord with the military rules within the framework of legal procedures.
6. During the investigation from December 11 to 13 December, commission members learnt that authorities were carrying out investigations in accord with the prescribed laws in order to take action against terrorists, and there were no more armed attacks or arson attacks found during area clearance operations after 22nd November. Therefore, worries among the local populace have lessened and it has appeared signs of peace and stability in the region. In some villages, schools were reopened while some villages requested to reopen schools and return of teachers to their schools. The chairman of the investigation commission conferred with the Chief Minister of Rakhine State to open schools as the region regained peace and stability.
7. In addition, it is described that the commission managed not only to perform the work of investigation into the violent attacks, but also consulted with authorities to improve the living conditions, business, education, health, and peace and stability of local residents of the area.