Myamar's counter-terrorism officers are working closely with their counterparts in ASEAN and other countries, parliament has been told. The disclosure, by deputy home affairs minister Brigadier General Kyaw Zan Myint, comes as a second ASEAN capital, Jakarta, yesterday sustained a terrorist attack claimed by Islamic State that killed at least seven people.
Last August, a bombing inside the Erawan shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Pathum Wan district, Bangkok, killed 20 people and injured 125.
Myanmar has hosted recent high-visibility events such as the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and the chairship of ASEAN without any security-related incidents. But specially trained teams are on high alert, the deputy minister said.
Brig Gen Kyaw Zan Myint told the Amyotha Hluttaw on January 13, “Anti-terrorist forces armed with the latest weapons have been posted in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay.”
The deputy minister was responding to a question from Ayeyarwady MP U Khin Maung Ye, who had asked what steps the Ministry of Home Affairs had taken to prevent the entry of terrorists into the country and to respond to terror-related emergencies with the potential to place hundreds of civilian lives at risk.
The deputy minister said police had formed a Counter Terrorism Department to mount a rapid response to an attack, both by aiding the victims and suppressing the terrorists. The department comprised four security police supervisory forces of 12 units each, 27 separate security police units and one border police supervisory force with four units.
Three companies of security police were deployed in each state and region, of whom 30 percent was assigned to regional coordination duties, said the deputy minister. Another 30pc were engaged in research and analysis of possible terror threats.
Important sites, including government and religious buildings, factories and bridges, were under special protective surveillance, he said.
Secure links had been established for information-sharing with Interpol and Aseanapol, neighbouring governments, and other security partners to share alert status and monitor terror-related events and trends.
A national-level emergency management centre had established real-time links with state and regional governments as early as 2014, the deputy minister said, equipped with 10 million euro (US$10.9 million) worth of high-tech information-analysis apparatus.
The central committee for national-level emergency management is chaired by the vice president of the Union government, while the 12-member working committee is chaired by the Union minister of home affairs. State- and regional-level security committees had also been established. Special units had undergone training and rehearsals in dealing with attackers armed with bombs or chemical weapons, or planning mass shootings.
Particular stress had been laid on the eradication of money laundering through legislation, in order to eliminate a key source of terrorist funding, said Brig Gen Kyaw Zan Myint. Individuals, charities and companies linked with terrorist organisations were under surveillance, in close coordination between the government and financial institutions.
“We are collaborating with Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the United States in information sharing about eliminating money laundering and other sources of funding for terrorists,” he added.
Entry lists at the nation’s land and sea borders were being monitored at all times.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun