Singapore to deport Myanmar citizens for 'funding' Rakhine rebels

Men were detained for providing funding to Myanmar rebels designated a 'terrorist' organisation by the country.

    Home ministry said foreign nationals 'should not import their domestic political issues from their countries into Singapore' [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]
    Home ministry said foreign nationals 'should not import their domestic political issues from their countries into Singapore' [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

    Singapore authorities will deport a group of Myanmar nationals detained after being accused of rallying support for armed violence against the Myanmar government.

    The home ministry said in a statement on Wednesday the group had "organised and mobilised" some members of Singapore's Myanmar community to support the Arakan Army (AA), an armed group fighting for greater autonomy in the western state of Rakhine, as well as its political wing, the United League of Arakan.

    It added that those found to be involved in "activities of security concern" would be deported.

    Rakhine state, also known as Arakan, came to global attention after about 730,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh fleeing a brutal military crackdown in 2017.

    More recently, civilians in both Rakhine and neighbouring Chin state, have been caught up in clashes between the military and the AA that have displaced more than 35,000 people this year according to the United Nations.

    Myanmar has designated the AA, which recruits mainly among the majority Buddhists, a "terrorist" organisation.

    Singapore's home ministry said the arrested Myanmar nationals had provided financial support to the rebels, with one co-ordinating fundraising efforts among the diaspora in Singapore.

    "They should not import their domestic political issues from their countries into Singapore," the statement said.

    Khine Thu Kha, a spokesman for the AA, denied the detainees belonged to the armed group.

    "They are just a community organisation," he told Reuters.

    Myo Thu Soe, a spokesman for the Myanmar police, said he "didn't know" why the Singaporean police had arrested the men. "It didn't happen because we asked them," he said.

    SOURCE: News agencies