Independent commission member stresses need to investigate ARSA attacks in Rakhine State

Nay Yaing and Aung Min Thein

It is necessary to fully investigate terror attacks of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and take measures for peace and development of Rakhine State, said Dr Aung Tun Thet, member of the independent investigation commission.

"We have talked about two things. First, we need to investigate terrorist activities stemming from ARSA attacks. The most important thing is to consider ways and means to ensure peace and development of Rakhine State in the long run. Rather than finding fault, we will try to review the case in detail," said Dr Aung Tun Thet.

The newly formed independent investigation commission for Rakhine issue held its first meeting at Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw on August 16. The second meeting is due to take place in the first week of September.

"The second meeting will be called next week. We will discuss things we have to do. Regarding the issue, we need to study and review information, reports and findings. We are also reviewing them. We will meet commission members first and then concerned officials," said Dr Aung Tun Thet.

In response to criticism over not allowing local and foreign organisations to get access to Rakhine State, Dr Aung Tun Thet said: "Why not? We have allowed them access. Please say practically. We will allow it to happen. To allow this, we have already signed a memorandum of understanding. We want them to go there. We also want the media to reach there. Our commission encourages transparency and independence. It is better if they know objective conditions."

He continued to say that his commission was ready to launch an investigation into the incidents that happened in Rakhine State, adding that officials would take charge of security for them.  

The President Office established the independent enquiry commission to address Rakhine issue late last month. The commission is tasked with investigating the allegations of human rights violation and related issues following the terrorist attacks by the ARSA last year.