29/10/2014 Police and military personnel have interrogated 30 people in Rakhine State over suspected links to terrorist groups since the leader of Al Qaeda announced in September that the once-feared group had formed a new unit to target India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, local police said.
They did not name the terrorist organisations the suspects were allegedly linked to, but said special investigation teams were seeking information on the movements of the unidentified groups and that security forces along the border had been alerted about this.
The special investigation teams comprise members of Special Branch and the Special Bureau of Investigation. They have, or are in the process of, opening offices in Maungdaw town, as well as several villages in the predominantly Muslim township: Ahle Than Kyaw, Bandula, Khamauk Seik, Kyein Chaung and Taungphyo Letwe.
Local police have also been alerted that emergency security services are being imposed.
The teams have yet to engage in combat with the unidentified terrorist group, or groups, but are seeking information on their alleged movements, local police said.
An officer from Special Branch said Rakhine State was in an emergency situation. He also said branch offices would be opened across the entire state and that they were similar to units that had been in place during military rule.
The expansion of security forces over the state is being portrayed as a response to the video released on September 3 in which Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that the terrorist group had formed a unit to launch a jihad on India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The claim was widely interpreted as an effort by the nearly decimated terrorist organisation to regain the extremist spotlight, which it lost to terror group Islamic State, which is at war in Syria and Iraq.
Though no data has been released, local police say the crime rate in the Maungdaw border area has risen, with robberies and kidnapping cases becoming more common. They also allege that ethnic Rakhine residents of the area – who are a minority in the two northern districts of the state – are also being threatened by terrorists.The new security teams are reportedly attempting to gather evidence of terrorist activities.
Myanmar is also cooperating with other governments in the region and around the globe to prevent terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda through an early warning system and the sharing of information on the group’s activities. CR. ELEVEN MEDIA