Junta forcibly asks IDPs to return home in time for elections

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Sittwe, January (1)

The Military Council is pressuring the displaced people to return home in time for the elections following the end of armed conflict between the Arakan Army (AA) and the junta army in Rakhine State, the politicians and relief workers told Than Lwin Times.

Despite the fact that there is no fighting at the moment, refugees are finding it difficult to return to their homeland due to transportation difficulties and the inability to return to their original livelihoods.

However, the military council continues to collect voter lists for the election in Rakhine State and forcibly return the IDPs, said U Pe Than, veteran Rakhine politician.

He claimed that the Military Council and the Arakan Army sought a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds but were unable to strike a deal, raising fears of another round of fighting.

U Pe Than noted that if the election is held, it may be a good prospect for some Rakhine parties, but the plight of the people should be addressed first.

Effective measures are still required for the region’s recovery, and the state should allow NGO organizations to access to the state for humanitarian aid.

The ceasefire agreement came on November 26, after the fighting between the AA and junta forces resumed in Rakhine.

After the ceasefire was declared, there were no more arrests, deaths or injuries in Rakhine State, and the military council also reopened the previously blocked land and water routes in northern Rakhine.

However, the transportation of medicines, fuel, and construction materials for local development is restricted, in addition to a ban on NGO operations.

Locals are worried that fighting will happen again amid renewed tension as the army has not released those who were arrested on suspicion of being linked to AA.

News-Than Lwin Times

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