2018 Sittwe bombings

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2018 Sittwe bombings
LocationSittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Date24 February 2018
4:30 am (UTC+6:30)
Attack type
Bombing
WeaponsImprovised explosive devices
Deaths0
Injured1
PerpetratorsRakhine nationalists (suspected)[1]

The 2018 Sittwe bombings were a series of three bomb blasts in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's Rakhine State.[2] One police officer received minor injuries from the blasts.[3]

Background[edit]

Ethnic Rakhine insurgent groups have been fighting the government of Myanmar since the early 1950s. Bombings are not uncommon in Myanmar due to the various ongoing insurgencies in the country, but they have been a rare occurrence in Rakhine State. However, Rakhine State has experienced an increase in guerrilla-style attacks by insurgents since 2016.

Bombings[edit]

One of the bombs exploded at around 4:30 am (MMT) in the backyard of a residence belonging to Tin Maung Swe, a state government secretary, whilst the other two went off near a high court and a land record office.[4][5] The blasts slightly injured a police officer.[3] Authorities suspected that Swe was targeted because of his high position in the local administration. Three unexploded bombs were recovered and defused by authorities afterwards.[4]

Investigation[edit]

Seven suspects were arrested by the Myanmar Police Force immediately after the bombing,[6][7] whilst two others were detained later in the investigation. Naing Soe, a senior leader of the Arakan National Council (ANC) was among those arrested.[8]

On 26 March 2018, the police released five of the nine suspects, including Naing Soe, after they failed to find evidence against them within 30 days as police procedure requires.[9] The released suspects were originally charged under Myanmar's counter-terrorism laws, but their release was ordered by the court after the police failed to show evidence linking them to the bombings. An extension for the police's remand of three of the suspects still detained was approved by the court on the same day; two of the suspects were accused of illegally crossing the Bangladesh–Myanmar border, whilst another was accused of being involved with a bombing in Mrauk U.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Diplomat, Neil Thompson, The. "Myanmar's Buddhist Rakhine Rebels". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  2. ^ "Blasts rock city in north-west Myanmar". BBC News. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "3 bombs rock Myanmar's northwestern city Sittwe". CBC News. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b Aung, Thu Thu (23 February 2018). "Three bombs rock Myanmar's northwestern city Sittwe, policeman injured". Reuters. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Several bombs explode in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the site of alleged ethnic cleansing". The Independent. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Seven suspects arrested in Sittwe bomb blast". Mizzima. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  7. ^ Myint, Moe (28 February 2018). "Arakan Group Says 7 Arrested Over Sittwe Bomb Attack". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  8. ^ Yee, Tan Hui (1 March 2018). "Sittwe blasts put spotlight on Rakhine nationalists". The Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  9. ^ a b Aung Khine, Min (28 March 2018). "5 of 9 Suspects in Sittwe Bombings Released". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 3 April 2018.