Monday, August 3, 2009

Heightened security measures in Arakan

Sittwe (Narinjara): The Burmese military junta authorities went into a huddle in meetings on Friday in several towns in Arakan state to tighten security in major towns, apprehending trouble in the wake of the verdict in the trial of democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi), said sources close to the authorities.

The authorities held the meetings on Friday, when the verdict was meant to be pronounced. The verdict was, however, postponed to August 11. The regime aims to prevent any untoward incidents if Daw Suu is sentenced to a prison term, the source said.

The meetings were held in several towns of Arakan on the directives of the junta brass in Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma.

The military authorities are concerned about people’s protests against the regime throughout Burma if Daw Suu is sentenced to a prison term by the court. Naypyidaw instructed Arakan state authorities to beef up security.

Arakan state played an active role in the anti government demonstrations in September in 2007 and 2008. So the authorities are closely monitoring the state, according to the source.

In Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, the authorities held the meetings on security matters at two places - one in the district office and another in the office of the Military Supervisor Command.

The Western Command Commander General Thaung Aye attended the meeting, which was held in the office of the Military Supervisor Command in Sittwe. Many other army officials attended the meet.

A source close to military authorities in Buthidaung cantonment said that in Buthidaung, 80 miles north of Sittwe, the army authorities held the meeting at the Saka Kha hall of the Military Operation Bureau in English, at 7 am on the day.

Many army officers including Lt. Colonel Aung Naing, Commander of Saka Kha and Commander of Military Planning Bureau, the district chairman and local administrative officers, including the township chairmen of Buthidaung and Maungdaw attended the meeting.

Similar meetings were held in Kyauk Pru, Taungup and Thandwe, Minby and Rambree.

The authorities are likely to beef up security in Arakan state, especially before the 8888 annual uprising day on 8 August 2009 till the end of September.

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