Thursday, January 29, 2009

Burma: The town where "no one is allowed to walk on the streets"

Source: Kaladan Press Network Please visit and show your support and appreciation

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Concerned authorities of Northern Arakan have changed the towns of Maungdaw and Buthidaung into ghost towns, prior to the high profile visit of SPDC officers, a local from Maungdaw said.

The authorities of Maungdaw and Buthidaung Township ordered the people not to come out of their houses, until further orders were issued, he added.

The high level SPDC officers, maybe Sr. General Than Shwe and others, according to the local people of Northern Arakan State. They also said that nothing of the kind had ever happened before.

Northern Arakan state's towns are buzzing with activity, with security personnel clearing the town and heightening security arrangements. The local people had to clean the roads, markets, schools and hospitals for the past one week, a source from the Maungdaw Municipal office said.

All the operations were controlled and directed by Western Command Commander, General Thaung Aye, in association with the concerned authorities of both towns, he added.

On January 26, the Commander ordered all Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) members from Maungdaw and Buthidaung to join the welcome program in Buthidaung, from 10 am to 4 pm. They were provided with required transport like cars, boats etc, a village authority member from Buthidaung said.

The authorities banned the movement of cars and people in the town or rural areas and the towns have since become ghost-like, a student from Maungdaw said.

In Maungdaw, the local people were not allowed to leave their houses from 10 am to 4 pm in the evening. Most of the town authorities and USDA members were only going to receive and welcome the officers at Buthidaung in the morning by car. However, the officers did not come to the Northern Arakan state till 4pm in the evening and no one knew the reason, a source from Maungdaw town authority said.

"It seems like a red alert in our town and no one is allowed to walk on the streets, only dogs are roaming around the town. It is like a ghost town. Some times only security personnel can be seen patrolling the town," a student from Maungdaw said.

"The village authority has ordered us not to leave our houses. Walking or sitting on the road is also prohibited," a farmer from Bolibazaar village said.

The authorities of both towns removed heighten security in Northern Arakan today, a source from police from Maungdaw said.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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