More than 1000 people suspected of taking part in the intercommunal violence in Rakhine State have been detained, and nearly 5000 weapons have been seized by the government.
The figures were released by Union Minister of Border Affairs Lieutenant General Thein Htay at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yangon on December 8.
Hundreds of people were killed and more than 100,000 displaced in outbreaks of violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State in June and October.
Lt Gen Thein Htay said a total of 1121 people in 12 townships had been detained, comprising 233 Rakhines, 849 Bengalis, 27 Hindus, four Maramagyi, and eight Myanmar.
“The people were detained in custody and the weapons seized in order to maintain the rule of law,” he said.
A total of 4802 weapons, including guns, knives, javelins, crossbows, arrows, slingshots and harpoons were seized in 11 townships in the state. However, Lt Gen Thein Htay said local residents used these for traditional hunting.
“It is not strange that some people have guns. But guns were used in the conflict. We have to maintain the rule of law, even if it means banning all kinds of weapons,” he said.
According to the most recent government data, 200 people were killed, 10,689 houses, 45 mosques, 14 monasteries and three primary schools were damaged.
In October, the government warned of a crackdown against unnamed people and organisations it accused of manipulating the violent incidents in Rakhine State “behind the scenes.”
“Investigations are continuing. We will announce if we get concrete evidence of who is to blame for the violence,” said Police Major General Kyaw Kyaw Tun, vice minister for home affairs.