Singapore

Singapore deports Myanmar nationals

They rallied support here for armed conflict against their government: MHA

The group of Myanmar nationals who used Singapore as a base to mobilise support for armed violence against their government has been deported, as details of some of their activities emerged.

Myanmar media reported that six men who had been arrested by the Singapore authorities were sent back and landed at Yangon International Airport on Wednesday night.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had that evening issued a statement confirming the security action against them for mobilising some members of the Myanmar community here to support the Arakan Army (AA) and its political wing.

The armed group is fighting for independence for Myanmar's Rakhine state.

News of the arrests spread on social media among members of the Arakan community, some of whom made allegations that Singapore had acted at the behest of the Myanmar government, which has designated the AA as a terrorist group.

But a spokesman for the Myanmar police, Mr Myo Thu Soe, was cited in a Reuters report denying that they had asked their Singapore counterpart, to make the arrests.

The Straits Times understands the MHA took action based on its own assessment that the individuals posed a security threat, having used Singapore as a staging ground to solicit support and raise funds for armed violence.

MHA, in its statement, said it took action against the individuals "for using Singapore as a platform to organise and garner support for armed violence against the Myanmar government".

Such actions, MHA added, were inimical to Singapore's security.

The individuals investigated were found to have given financial support to the AA, the MHA said.

They were also involved in the 10th anniversary celebration of the AA's founding, which The Straits Times has learnt was held at a community club hall here.

The AA was founded on April 10, 2009, but social media posts show the anniversary being marked by supporters on April 7 - a Sunday - in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.

Pictures of the Singapore event show actors dressed in military uniforms and holding replica firearms on stage.

AA chief Tun Myat Naing addressed participants via livestream and called on them to unite and fight for Rakhine independence through armed conflict.

One of the men deported on Wednesday, Ko Aung Myat Kyaw, was reported by Myanmar media to be a relative of the AA chief.

WORLD