Republic of the Union of Myanmar
State Counsellor’s Office
Press Release 1/2016
2nd Waning of Tazaungmon, 1378 ME
(16 November 2016)
The following is an unofficial translation of press release 1/2016 of the State Counsellor’s Office information committee.
1. As regards the news item about burning the abodes in Maungtaw area which appeared in Bangkok Post 14th November 2016 issue, the statement of the Tatmataw’s True News Releasing Body was published in State-run newspapers of 15/11/2016 issue.
2. To be able to release the true situation concerning the news accurately, aerial photos were taken by Tatmataw-owned helicopter in the villages of Wapeik, Kyetyoepyin, Dargyizar and surrounding area in addition to on-the-ground-sightseeing in the evening of November 15. During the inspection, it was found that nearly 105 buildings in Wapeik village were burnt down, with about 30 in Kyetyoepyin, 30 or so in Dargyizar and some 20 abodes in Pyaungpike set on fire.
3. Upon receipt of the news that some 10 armed attackers entered Wapeik village in the evening of November 13, security forces went to clear them out. Due to the clearance attack of the security forces, the attackers set houses in the village on fire and fled away. That news was published in the Myawady newspaper and broadcast on Myawady TV on November 14.
The Bangkok Post covered a news report based on satellite photos released by Human Rights Watch, in which it accused that some 100 buildings were burnt down before November 13. It was reported in Myawady newspaper and on Myawady TV on October 13 that there were only 25 buildings burnt down in the above-said village before the news released by HRW. According to findings from investigation, it is learnt that 105 units out of its original number of buildings—261 houses were ruined in the fire. Despite the fact that 245 houses in the village of Kyetyoepyin were described to have been burnt down in Bangkok Post, only 30 out of its original number—362 were found to have been destroyed by the arsonists.
Similarly, according to the onthe- ground-survey, there were only 30 buildings burnt down out of its original number—330 in Dargyizar village.
BP accused that 700 buildings were destroyed by the arsonists. Although HRW expressed that 85 buildings were ruined in the fire, the actual number was only 20. It has been released that outbreaks of fire were caused by the violent attackers.
4. During the aerial inspection of the fire-destroyed sites by helicopter, some buildings were found blazing near Yekhatchaung Gwasone village at 3 p.m or so. Government troops in the line of security duty extinguished the fire. In it, 17 houses were burnt down.
5. It was found that armed attackers waging terrorist attacks on Maungtaw area are burning villages and spreading false news and concocted stories linking with some media with a view to getting monetary aids from international organisations and misunderstanding security forces launching area clearance operation. The activities of area clearance operation in Maungtaw area will be released to keep pace with the time.
Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar