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Burmese parties demand tougher action against ‘terrorists’

A Burmese border guard police officer stands guard in Tin May village, Buthidaung township, northern Arakan State, on 14 July 2017. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Twenty Burmese political parties issued a joint statement yesterday demanding the government take effective counter-terrorism measures in “troubled areas”, and provide adequate protection to the security forces involved in such operations.

The 20 parties — including the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the National Unity Party, the National Development Party and the Democratic Party — warned that the incumbent government bears sole responsibility to respond to what they called “terrorist acts”, and that it had so far failed to take timely action in Arakan State where militants have murdered civilians and police officers.

The statement, signed by senior officials of the 20 political parties, said that failure to address terrorist attacks was “the equivalent of committing an act of terror”.

With regard to the increased deployment of Burmese soldiers in the Mayu mountain range near Maungdaw, northwestern Arakan State, where at least six ethnic Mro villagers were murdered earlier this month, the statement noted that the 20 political parties view this move as a “necessary security measure” as opposed to an extension of military control.

The parties also noted in their 14 August statement a reminder to the outside world that there was no such ethnicity as “Rohingya” in Burma (or Myanmar as it is officially known).

The political parties’ statement comes after Burma’s Upper House of Parliament voted last week to debate measures to tackle “terrorist groups” in northwestern Arakan State.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, senior officials from the government have let it be known in recent days that India intends to deport all 40,000 Rohingyas from its soil regardless of whether they have UN recognition as refugees or not.