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Burma will not allow those Rohingyas who have recently fled the country to return unless they can show proof of Burmese citizenship, said National Security Advisor Thaung Tun today.
Speaking at a press conference in Naypyidaw, Thaung Tun referred to the exodus of more than 120,000 Rohingyas who have sought refuge in Bangladesh in the wake of militant attacks on Burmese border police posts on 25 August and a subsequent military campaign to root out those responsible. Estimates suggest that around 400 people have been killed in the past two weeks in northwestern Arakan State.
“If they [returnees] have proof of citizenship or documents verifying how many years they have lived in this country, we will accept them. Otherwise, they cannot come back,” said Burma’s national security advisor.
Addressing the issue of ARSA, the self-proclaimed Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which has claimed responsibility for the coordinated ambushes on police posts and an attempted raid on an army base, Thaung Tun warned that the group intends targeting Burmese cities such as Rangoon, Naypyidaw and Mandalay in order to attract greater international focus on the current crisis.
Burma’s Information Committee yesterday released a statement, saying that security alerts and instructions have been relayed to all state and regional governments advising policies to be adopted in reaction to any bombings or attacks by ARSA.
“It is important to remain vigilant of the fact that there is a possible danger of terrorist attacks being used to incite ethnic or religious tension or public unrest,” said the statement.
The Office of the Commander-in-Chief also released a statement on 5 September, claiming it had information that terrorist attacks were “being prepared in a foreign country.”
The military statement went on to say that these “extremist terrorists” are undergoing training in that foreign country [read Bangladesh], and that many are now experts in making homemade weapons and landmines.
“People across the country need to inform their local military bases and police stations if they see any suspicious movements [that could be] ARSA extremist terrorists, especially the illegal stockpiling of ammonium nitrate,” said the statement.
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical white powder that is used as a fertilizer in agriculture but which can also be employed to make explosives.
National Security Advisor Thaung Tun emphasised in his speech today that the government would always prioritise security and that any “extremist terrorists” that are captured will be interrogated to reveal their group’s plans.
Speaking earlier today, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi blamed “terrorists” for “a huge iceberg of misinformation” related to the violence in Arakan State.