Rakhine cur­few ex­tended

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

Late night re­stric­tions that have been in place in Buthi­daung and Maung­daw town­ships since sec­tar­ian ten­sions hit the state in 2012 have been eased, but con­tin­ued by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

THE evening cur­few in two north­ern Rakhine State town­ships was ex­tended on Au­gust 8, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal of­fi­cials.

The late-night clam­p­down has been in place since 2012 in Buthi­daung and Maung­daw, where there ap­pears to be lit­tle im­pe­tus to re­move it, as lo­cal res­i­dents – both Bud­dhist and Mus­lim – say they fear a resur­gence of un­rest.

Po­lice Lieu­tenant San Min from Maung­daw town­ship said the lat­est cur­few ex­ten­sion will hold for two months un­til Oc­to­ber 8. The cur­few has been moved from its pre­vi­ous 11pm start time to now take ef­fect at mid­night.

“The or­der said civil­ians must not go out­side be­tween 12am and 4am, and can­not form con­gre­ga­tions over five per­sons large in public ar­eas or mosques,” he said.

Af­ter the 2012 con­flict, most of Rakhine State, in­clud­ing the cap­i­tal Sit­twe, in­sti­tuted a dusk-to-dawn cur­few that was lifted two years ago. But the cur­few has re­mained in force in Buthi­daung and Maung­daw.

Rakhine State Hlutt­taw mem­ber U Tun Hla Sein (USDP; Maung­daw 1) said there is still a need to renew the cur­few or­der in these two town­ships as they are near bor­der ar­eas.

He added that there is no plan to ad­dress the cur­few in the state par­lia­ment, which he said has other, more press­ing mat­ters to dis­cuss.

“This is just an or­der of de­ter­rence. Peo­ple can move more freely around the town and can go to mosque with­out re­straint ex­cept that they can’t go out­side late at night. And this or­der is in ef­fect for both com­mu­ni­ties. Not only one,” he said.

At the end of his term as pres­i­dent, U Thein Sein lifted the state of emer­gency put in place in Rakhine af­ter deadly sec­tar­ian ri­ots erupted be­tween Bud­dhist and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties in 2012. How­ever, the cur­few or­der was al­lowed to linger in Buthi­daung and Maung­daw town­ships as the 2008 con­sti­tu­tion grants lo­cal au­thor­i­ties the right to im­pose such re­stric­tions.

U Kyaw Min, head of the Democ­racy and Hu­man Rights Party, whose mem­bers iden­tify as Ro­hingya Mus­lims, said the new gov­ern­ment should lift all rem­nants of the cur­few in the name of democ­racy.

“We want bet­ter con­di­tions with­out such con­trol. There is no threat to peo­ple’s lives,” he said.

The Myan­mar Times called the Rakhine State gov­ern­ment re­quest­ing com­ment about the cur­few or­der ex­ten­sion, but was told no spokesper­son was avail­able.

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