Singapore to deport Myanmar nationals linked to insurgent group Arakan Army
Several Myanmar nationals will be deported from Singapore for mobilising support for armed violence against the Myanmar government, says the Ministry of Home Affairs.
SINGAPORE: Several Myanmar nationals are to be deported from Singapore after mobilising support for "armed violence against the Myanmar government", the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday (Jul 10).
Myanmar news website The Irrawaddy named six individuals who it said were arrested in Singapore, including a relative of Arakan Army (AA) chief Tun Myat Naing.
MHA did not specify the number of people arrested but said that one of the individuals investigated "has a direct relationship with a key AA leader".
"At the behest of AA’s leadership, he actively mobilised support among the local Arakan community, and coordinated AA’s fund-raising efforts here," the ministry said.
"He urged the community to contribute to a 'National Fund', as they needed a credible army to fight for them."
MHA said the group mobilised some members of the local Myanmar community to support AA, which has been designated a terrorist group by the Myanmar government, and its political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA).
The detainees reportedly belong to the Arakanese Association-Singapore (AAS), described as "a social welfare organisation that contributes relief aid from Singapore to the Arakanese displaced in the north of Rakhine State". The AAS Facebook page was taken offline on Wednesday, said The Irrawaddy.
The Myanmar nationals provided financial support to the AA, with one making regular monthly contributions, according to MHA.
"Socio-cultural events of the local community were also used to propagate the AA’s cause and to rally support for the Rakhine ‘fatherland’," it said.
They recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of the AA and ULA, and wore clothing bearing the official AA logo, MHA said.
At the celebration, participants depicted the AA’s armed offensive against the Myanmar Armed Forces’ actions in Rakhine state, and actors were dressed in military uniforms with replica firearms.
A video of the AA leader was streamed live, urging the Rakhine people to unite and fight for Rakhine independence through the AA’s armed conflict against the authorities.
"The AA is an armed group that has conducted violent attacks in Myanmar," said MHA.
"This includes two attacks on police posts in January and March 2019, where the AA admitted to seizing large caches of weapons and ammunition from the police stations."
According to reports, the AA killed more than 20 police officers in the two attacks. Family members of police officers, including women and children, were reportedly abducted by the AA in these attacks.
The ministry said that foreigners here should not "import their domestic political issues from their countries into Singapore".
"MHA takes a very serious view of anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless how they rationalise such violence ideologically, or where the violence takes place," it added.
"Any person, local or foreign, who engages in such activity, which is inimical to Singapore’s national security, would be dealt with firmly."
However, it noted that the large majority of Myanmar nationals in Singapore are law abiding and have made contributions to Singapore.
"We must be careful not to let the actions of a few individuals taint the positive contributions of the rest of the community, who live harmoniously amongst us," it said.