Singapore has arrested six leaders of the ‘Arakan Association ‘ and said they will be deported to Myanmar.
The Singapore ministry of Home Affairs has blamed the six for using its soil to mobilize support for armed violence against legally established governments.
Their actions in support of the Arakan Army (AA), an armed group that has conducted violent attacks in Myanmar, are ‘inimical to Singapore’s security’, MHA said in a statement recently.
It added that those found involved in activities of security concern will be deported.
Also read: Myanmar orders internet shutdown in Rakhine
The ministry’s statement came following reports in the Myanmar media that six leaders of the Arakan Association (Singapore) had been picked up, and that their computers and mobile phones were seized.
The Arakan Army, founded in April 2009 to fight the Myanmar military for greater autonomy in Rakhine and Chin states, has been designated a terrorist group by the Myanmar government.
MHA said its investigations found the group had organized and mobilized some members of the Myanmar community in Singapore to support the army and its political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA).
The ministry did not say how many were being investigated, but Myanmar news site Irrawaddy reported six individuals were arrested.
The site named them as association chairman Ko Hein Zaw, vice-chair Daw Aye Myat Mon, communication officer Ko Ye Kyaw Htet, and Ko Tin Hlaing Oo, Ko Aung Myat Kyaw and Ko Tun Aye.
MHA said one member of the group has a direct relationship with a key AA leader, and that at the behest of the AA leadership, he actively mobilized support among the Arakan community in Singapore.
He urged them to contribute to a ‘national fund’, and used community events to propagate the cause and rally support for the Rakhine ‘fatherland’.
The Irrawaddy reported that Ko Aung Myat Kyaw is the cousin of AA chief Tun Myat Naing.
The ministry added that the people investigated provided regular financial support to the AA, with one giving regular monthly contributions.
The ministry said that all those arrested were also involved in a recent celebration of the 10th anniversary of the AA and ULA’s founding, where those attending wore clothing bearing the official AA logo.
Myanmar has asked India, China and Asean countries to act firmly against rebel groups like Arakan army which were involved in separatist violence in Myanmar.
The Indian Army has dismantled Arakan Army camps in South Mizoram after Myanmar forces acted against Northeast Indian rebel groups this year.