Myanmar reviews rehabilitation work in conflict-hit western state

Myanmar's Rakhine State Peace and Stability Implementation Central Committee has reviewed the rehabilitation work being implemented in the communal-riot-hit western Rakhine state, calling for cooperative efforts to bring the state back to normalcy, official media reported Wednesday.

Assessing the rehabilitation work, President U Thein Sein called for assistance in ensuring livelihood of local victims and re-running of their traditional farming and fishing work by providing them with farming and fishing equipment in the coming monsoon season which is falling in June.

"Long-term plan for handling of Rakhine conflict should be set. Myanmar people themselves need to address the internal affairs peacefully," U Thein Sein said, adding that "the number of security forces will be reduced along with improvement in peace and stability".

He expressed special thanks to UN agencies and the ambassadors from the volunteer countries for their help since Rakhine conflict erupted.

He disclosed that for providing necessary assistance to the victims, a Sittway-based organization comprising the delegates from respective ministries is to be formed under the leadership of the Ministry of Border Affairs.

Communal violence broke out in May-June 2012, escalating in October of the year and leaving 32,231 people homeless.

In the violence, 89 people were killed and 136 injured with 5,351 houses being burnt down in arson fire in addition to 14 religious buildings and eight rice mills.

The authorities also claimed that legal actions have been taken against 1,058 persons involved in the communal violence from June 8 to Oct. 26 which undermined the stability of the Rakhine state.