Singapore detains Myanmar nationals accused of rebel links

Arakan Army officials gather with other leaders and representatives of various Myanmar ethnic rebel groups at a conference in rebel-controlled Mai Ja Yang in northern Kachin state on July 26, 2016. (AFP file photo)
Updated 11 July 2019

Singapore detains Myanmar nationals accused of rebel links

  • Myanmar’s army has deployed thousands of troops to Rakhine in recent months to try to crush Arakan Army insurgents
  • The country’s western state was the scene of a 2017 military crackdown against its Rohingya Muslims

SINGAPORE: Singapore has detained several Myanmar nationals accused of organizing support for a rebel group locked in fierce fighting with the military in their country’s troubled Rakhine state, authorities said.
Myanmar’s army has deployed thousands of troops to Rakhine in recent months to try to crush Arakan Army (AA) insurgents, who say they are fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
The country’s western state was the scene of a 2017 military crackdown against its Rohingya Muslims, when hundreds of thousands forced to flee to Bangladesh.
The group targeted in Singapore raised funds and organized support for the AA among the community from their home country, the city-state’s interior ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs is taking action against several Myanmar nationals for using Singapore as a platform to organize and garner support for armed violence against the Myanmar government,” said the statement.
“This is inimical to Singapore’s security.”
The AA was responsible for “violent attacks” in Myanmar and had been designated a terrorist group by the Myanmar government, it said.
Community events were used “to propagate the AA’s cause and to rally support for the Rakhine ‘fatherland’,” and one of the people being probed has a direct relationship with a key AA leader.
The ministry declined to say how many people were detained, or disclose their identities.
But it said those found to be “involved in activities of security concern” would be deported.
Violence between the military and the AA in Rakhine has forced more than 30,000 people from their homes in the area in recent months.
Myanmar authorities have vowed to crush the AA rebellion, which has simmered since the group’s formation in 2009.
The rebels enjoy widespread support from ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have felt marginalized for decades in one of the country’s poorest states.


Malaysia reports 19 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Updated 49 min 14 sec ago

Malaysia reports 19 new coronavirus cases, one new death

  • The health ministry also reported its first death in two weeks

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 19 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the cumulative total to 8,266 infections.
The health ministry also reported its first death in two weeks, raising the number of fatalities to 116.
Earlier on Friday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled an additional economic stimulus package worth around $8.2 billion in a bid to revitalize industries badly hit by the pandemic.