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This picture taken on October 13, 2012, shows a policeman sitting behind a barbed wire fence blocking the entrance into the Aung Mingalar quarter, which has turned into a ghetto after violence wracked the city of Sittwe, the capital of Burma's western Rakhine State. Photo: AFP

U Hla Thein, Chairperson of the Information Committee of Rakhine State Government told Mizzima, on August 11, that clashes in the Bengali refugee camp in Sittwe have been brought under control. One person was killed in the clashes.

He said that the clashes between the Police Force and the people took place on August 9 after a Bengali corpse was recovered near Hman Si village in Sittwe Township.

Written by Published in Ethnic Issues

Three people were injured and eight others detained in violent riots that occurred after a drowned person was found in Sittway in west Myanmar's Rakhine state Friday, official media reported Saturday.

Written by Published in Ethnic Issues

U Hla Thein, Chairman of the Information and Documentation Committee of Rakhine State told Mizzima on August 6 that the state government will request the Union Government for a two-fold increase in the salary of government servants in three townships, namely Butitaung, Rathitaung and Pauktaw.

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File picture of Mon National Liberation Army on the 65th Mon Revolution Day celebration held in Palain Japan Village in the Three Pagodas Pass area near the Thai-Myanmar border on September 1, 2012. Photo: Photo: NSMP

Major Han Tha, the Myeik District Regional Commander of New Mon State Party (NMSP) said that military tension between the Government and the NMSP is rising due to the Army's military activities in Htanphara Region, Bokpyin Township near Thai-Myanmar border.

He added that his troops have been alerted because Government troops are camped a few kilometers away from them. A battle can break out any time.

“Two army units are encamped around Htanphara. It seems like the units are about to attack our base in Htanphara in a few days. We have deployed our troops around the area. There will be a combat if they raid us.”

According to the NMSP, two NMSP soldiers and a government sergeant were killed, and four  government soldiers severely injured during an encounter that took place on July 16, when the Army’s Light Infantry No.581 raided a base of NMSP near Thumingalan Village in Htanphara, Pyigyi Mandaing sub-township, Bokpyin Township, Myeik District.

That encounter was the first between the government and the NMSP in 18 years. Nai Tala Nyi, a NMSP central executive, said that the NMSP asked the government's Southeast Command  Army to cease attacks and investigate the incident. In response, the government replied that they attacked the NMSP base by mistake. They clarified further that
the attack was aimed at the Monland Restoration Party (MRP) led by Nai Pan Nyunt.

The MRP is active in the area and separated from NMSP about ten years ago.

Major Han Tha said, “The justification is not acceptable. They provoked us without a sufficient reason. We had contacts with our bases before the encounter. They know the areas where we are active. So, it is impossible that they attacked us by mistake. I think they provoked us deliberately.”

He added that even after they submitted a report about the incident to the government's Southeast Command Army, one villager, and two NMSP members and their wives were arrested. They are still in custody. 15 houses were gutted when the government’s army torched Thumingalan Village village on July 22, leading him to conclude that Army's
explanation was groundless.

An official of NMSP’s Mawlamyaing office said that they would discuss with some members of the government’s Union Peace Making Work Committee about all those incidents in coming days.

Mon students and migrant workers staged a protest in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand on July 29 to oppose the Army’s attack on the NMSP.

The NMSP signed their first ceasefire agreement with the former junta in 1995. But the ceasefire was broken in 2010 after the NMSP refused to transform itself to Border Guard Force. The NMSP and the government signed a new ceasefire agreement in February 2012. There was no fighting between the government army and the NMSP in the interim.

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A file picture taken on June 12, 2012, where a resident is seen riding her bicycle past burned houses during communal violence in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar. AFP PHOTO

The Rakhine Human Rights and Development Organization released a report on the ethnic conflict that took place in Rakhine State.

The report was released to Rakhine Social organizations, Islamic organizations, artistes and the media, both national and international, at press briefing held at Central Hotel, Yangon on August 1, 2013.

Aung Min Oo , the executive Director said the report will be sent to government offices, the Parliaments and legislative assemblies, UN and UN agencies.

“The report is not intended to incite fresh conflict. It is a comprehensive report to understand the conflict and to explain misunderstandings,” he told Mizzima.

The report highlights customs and traditions of Rakhine and Bengal, historical facts and research documents on the conflict.

Some people who attended the briefing, criticized the report as they felt the facts and incidents in the report could create fresh tension when things are returning to normal.

Chairman Tin Htoo Aung  of the Rakhine National Network told Mizzima that, “The report does not intend to create unnecessary conflict but some UN member countries have misunderstandings about the communal conflict that took place in Rakhine State. So it will be best if the report is sent to these countries and the UN. ”

The communal conflict that took place in Rakhine State in May 2012 resulted in loss of many lives and left many more homeless. An Inquiry Commission was formed in August 2012. They issued a report in April 2013.

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Representatives of UNFC, UWSA, NDAA, attend an ethnic conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand on July 29-31, 2013. Photo: mmpeacemonitor via Twitter

Pado David Tarkapaw, Spokesman of United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), said that a resolution to redraft the 2008 Constitution among others, including the establishment of a Federal Union was passed at a Four Day Ethnic Conference held from July 29 to August 1, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The ethnic conference sponsored by UNFC passed a total of ten resolutions, including the formation of  Federal Armed Forces and a genuine Federal Union.

“The Federal Armed Forces will be role models of key principles such as preventing in-fighting, defending the Federal Union, proportionate participation in the Armed Forces, resolving conflicts through peaceful means, etc.”,  Pado David Tharkapaw said.

He also said that the ethnic representatives' aspiration for peace by forming a genuine Federal Union was the reason behind the resolution to redraft the 2008 Constitution.

But the UNFC has not disclosed the sections of the Constitution that they have resolved to amend.

He further elaborated that the ethnic representatives agreed to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement proposed by President Thein Sein only after they were given political and military assurance.

He criticized Union Minister Aung Min, the Government’s peace mediator saying, “Minister Aung Min is trying to achieve peace through separate peace agreements with different ethnic organizations. We have advised him from before to organize nationwide ceasefire in the country but he is still meeting each organization separately.”

A statement issued after the event stated that over 130 delegates from 45 ethnic political parties and ethnic armed groups attended the conference.

UNFC was formed in February 2011 with 12 armed and non-armed ethnic organizations