Border trade likely to reopen in Myanmar’s Rakhine state with situation returning to normal

A mosque is seen in a Muslim community within a market area of Maungdaw town located in Myanmar's strife-torn Rakhine State near the Bangladesh border on December 2, 2016. Photo: Khine Htoo Mrat/AFP

Border trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh at Maungtaw border trade point is likely to reopen as situation in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar starts to return to normal, official media reported Sunday. 

However, the security needs to be tightened in the first phase of its reopening, Maungtaw Border Merchants Association was quoted as saying. 

"Security would be tightened in the first phase for the unnecessary incidents. But we will relax the security rules step by step," the association chairman U Aung Myint Thein said. 

The surprise coordinated attacks by violent armed men on three border posts on Oct. 9 in Maungtaw have prompted the closure of all border gates with Bangladesh for more than two months, resulting in financial hardship for local shrimp and prawn farmers and traders. 

Local products such as dried fish and shrimp were traded via the state's capital Sittway, but export products of bamboo to Bangladesh came to a total halt. 

Meanwhile, anxiety of local people in violent-hit areas of the Rakhine state has eased with signs of resumed stability, said Myanmar's Rakhine Violence Investigation Commission in its first release on Wednesday following its three-day inspection tour to the attacked areas in the state where the commission met with affected communities.

However, investigations are still underway to expose the armed attackers. 

Schools in some villages in violence-torn areas have been reopened. 

The Myanmar government formed a 13-member investigation commission on Dec. 1 to probe the Oct. 9 violent attacks by armed men on the three border posts in Maungtaw, in which five soldiers and eight policemen were killed. 

The three border posts are Kyikanpyi in Maungtaw, Kotankauk in Buthedaung and Ngakhuya Office. 

The commission is tasked to report to the president by Jan. 31, 2017. 

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been in place in Maungtaw since Oct. 10.

Courtesy Global Times

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