Thursday, July 8, 2010

Special Police Forces to Fight Armed Robberies on Border in Western Burma

By Takaloo
Sittwe: Two special police forces have been deployed to combat the rampant armed robberies in the border townships of western Burma's Arakan State, said a police officer from the Arakan State Police Headquarters based in the capital Sittwe.

"Two units of police forces were sent to Buthidaung and Maungdaw Townships last Wednesday by the state headquarters, to combat cross-border robberies there," said the officer on condition of anonymity.

The officer said that more than 40 cases of dacoity, which were deemed to be committed by cross-border robbers, have been reported since mid-2009 in those townships near Bangladesh. Seven of those cases so far have lodged FIR with the local police stations, and most of the cases were reported to Nasaka forces deployed to guard the border in those townships.

"Police are responsible for curbing crimes in the state, that is why the police headquarters have sent additional forces to strengthen the local police stations to crack down on robberies in those areas," the officer said, although he refused to give further details about the robberies.

Border sources told Narinjara that there are at least two gangs of robbers operating in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships, as well as in the Naff River that demarcates the border between Burma and Bangladesh. Each gang is estimated to have 15 to 30 members, along with automatic guns.

In most cases, the robbers have mimicked Nasaka's tactic of checking houses during the night in order to gain access and loot homes in villages in the border townships.

Some of the victims said that the robbers who entered their homes were local Muslims, but some of those robbers surrounding the house were in Nasaka uniforms and were armed with automatic guns like Nasaka personnel.

A number of fishing boats and boats illegally crossing the border have also been robbed in the Naff River at gunpoint.

A source close to the local police said that it would not be easy for the police to nab the robbers, who have been operating in the area for a long time and have tight security covers with Nasaka forces and local army battalions, both of which wield significantly more power than the police.

It was also learned that the gangs have been committing the robberies from bases of operation in Bangladesh, especially in hide-out camps located in remote areas of Bangladesh territory.



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