Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win received members of the Independent Commission of Enquiry at the parlour of Bayintnaung Villa here this morning.
Also present at the meeting together with the Vice-Senior General were Lt-Gen Soe Htut and senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army). Leader of the Independent Commission of Enquiry H.E. Ambassador Mrs. Rosario Manalo and member H.E. Ambassador Mr. Kenzo Oshima and party were present.
At the meeting, the Vice-Senior General first explained the incidents and the history of Rakhine State to expose the truth. The Vice-Senior General said according to 2014 census, Myanmar has a population of over 52 million. The country has eight major races - Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan. Buddhism accounts for 87.9 percent of the population, Christian 6.2 percent and Islam 4.3 percent. There are also people of other faiths and non-believers. The Vice-Senior General then elaborated on the bringing of people from Bengal region (now Bangladesh) of former India into Myanmar farm and road construction labourers after the end of First Anglo-Myanmar War in 1824.
As regards the high population growth rate of Bengalis, the Vice-Senior General said that they take up to four wives and on average a household has 20 to 65 members. He then explained the threats against ethnic Rakhines made by Bengalis whose population was growing fast, the fleeing of large number of native Rakhines from their homes in Buthidaung, Maungtaw and Yathedaung in the north of Sittway due to Mujahid Kalazoe insurgents that appeared after the independence was regained and the 1942 Alethankyaw crisis during which many native Rakhines were murdered and their homes torched, the current attempts of Bengalis to directly gain citizenship as an invented race under the so-called named “Rohingya” by taking the support and encouragement of some international organizations, their plots to grab land, the denial of the existence of Rohingya made by the previous government and the Tatmadaw with firm evidence, the granting of citizenship in accord with the 1982 Citizenship Law. As regards a problem in Rakhine State created by Bengalis with high population growth and help from some international organizations, he explained the breaking out of clashes in Sittway, Thandwe, Taungup, Meiktila, Mandalay and Pyay due to commitment of rape against Ma Thida Htwe, a young Rakhine woman, by four Bengalis, in Yanbye Township in 2012. The Vice-Senior General explained the killings of native Rakhines, those who made contacts with the government and media persons between 2012 and 2016, the creation of a religious extremist force by spreading extremist religious ideologies, the butchering of police members and their families and grabbing of various kinds of arms totalling 68 units after launching synchronized attacks against 30 police outposts and a police control headquarters set up for ensuing the rule of law in October 2016, the attacks against a local Tatmadaw headquarters, police outposts and ethnic villages in August 2017, throat slitting of other Bengalis who stayed away from terrorist attacks and who did not agree with Bengali terrorists and the incidents in 2012 which occurred just in the wards and villages.He then discussed attacks on police forces conducting rule of law operations in 2016, attacks on civilians, police outposts, and military headquarters, the highest level security organizations, in 2017, security reinforcements after large groups of Bengalis had attacked security troops and ethnic Rakhine villages on 25 August 2017 and the strength of security forces had waned, conducting of regional security and rule of law operations in line with the government’s instructions, prescribed orders and instructions, disciplines and the laws in the effort to restore peace and stability in Rakhine State as quickly as possible, the government and Tatmadaw’s witnessing of exodus of fleeing Bengalis and burning of Bengali villages after the Tatmadaw columns arriving after the period between 25 August and 5 September in 2017 had withdrawn, and meeting with 3,217 people from two Rakhine villages, two Hindu villages and 54 Bengali villages and collecting verbal statements from 804 witnesses so as to whether or not security forces violated human rights, committed lawless murders and rapes, followed the rule of engagement, regional military operation order and administrative order.
A commander who made close supervisions in the 2012, 2016 and 2017 incidents and a regional commander were transferred and faced investigation for their weaknesses in enforcing the prescribed rules and orders for their subordinates. Due to their irresponsibility, the two senior officers had their military duties terminated and were allowed to resign. The discussion also included punitive actions to be taken against the violation of the military laws and the Penal Code.
In his discussion, the Vice-Senior General said Myanmar disseminated information about real situations to every diplomatic corps including those from the UN Security Council who arrived in the country on 30 April 2018, with whom Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing met. However, the international community still has weaknesses in understanding and realizing true situations, he said. The Vice-Senior General discussed details about information and documentary photos and expressed the Tatmadaw’s readiness to help with the activities of the independent enquiry commission.
Mrs. Rosario Manalo discussed efforts to seek correct solutions based on evidential facts about the Rakhine issue for the knowledge of the international community. Then, the Vice-Senior General presented books on correct information about Rakhine issue, documentary photos and historical facts about Rakhine State to individual members of the commission.
After the meeting, the Vice-Senior General posed for a documentary photo together with the members of the commission.
Edited by Win Htut