Is the devastating fire that ravaged the Thanchi bazar of Bandarban on Monday morning (27 Apr) an accident — some ‘deep throats’ reporting to Easternlink from the remote region say no.
They say the fire that completely gutted more than 200 shops — mostly grocery, clothing, pharmacy, hardware, library, food, and variety stores — was started by some ‘assets’ of the Arakan army in the area to create a diversion.
The Bangladesh army has started substantial patrolling in the area around Thanchi after Easternlink reported last week that the Arakan Army has carried a huge consignment through the area . The report said the AA has a small base in Sandak (MRO) near Thanchi which was used to stock the weapons brought from Wyakung beach where they were dropped by a ship on Feb 21.
https://theeasternlink.com/arakan-army-gets-chinese-weapons-through-bangladesh/ The local fire service have told local mediapersons that there were not yet clear about the origin of the fire.
“Since there is no fire service station in Thanchi upazila, firefighters from Bandarban sadar upazila went to the spot around two hours after the fire broke out around 5:20am,” Cha Sa Thoai Marma, vice chairman of Thanchi upazila, told ‘Daily Star’.
“Construction of a fire station was started in 2015 in Thanchi but the work has not been finished yet,” said Thoai Hla Mong, chairman of Thanchi Upazila said. .
If the construction was finished in due time, people of Thanchi might not have faced such losses, he added.
Meanwhile, locals and members of Bangladesh Army, police and BGB tried to control the fire frantically for over two hours before firefighters joined them, ‘Daily Star’ reported .
Wiping off tears, Aung Shwe U Marma, a trader and father of three children, said: “I collect ginger, garlic, and nuts from remote areas and sell in this Bazar.”
“Fire destroyed all my stocked products, estimated around Tk 8 lakh”, he told ‘Daily Star’. .
“All that I had is gone. How will I support my family now?” said Md. Faruq, owner of a cloth store that burnt to ashes.
Easternlink’s ‘deep throat asset’ in the region, who cannot be obviously identified, said that two local collaborators of the ‘Arakan Army’ set fire to a cloth store and a grocery store around 5am and fled.
“The purpose of this mayhem was divert all security forces in the area who were trying to close in on the AA base at Sandak , so that they get time to dismantle the base and carry away the remaining weapons ,” the EL’deepthroat’ said. His identity cannot be obviously disclosed for security reasons.
He said the Arakan Army has been stung by Easternlink’s expose and is hastily trying to pull out of the area atleast until the ruckus over their presence in Thanchi dies down and the Bangladesh soldiers go back to their barracks.
The Easterlink exposure has generated much interest in the West, where many security experts now see the Arakan Army’s intensified effort as being fuelled by a Chinese policy of ‘hunting with the hound and swimming with the crocodile ‘ — providing arms and other hardware to both Burmese army and also to key rebel groups who control areas where Chinese projects are existing.
EL’s ‘deepthroat’ says the AA leadership, which is unusually smart and far-sighted , worry that expose of their Chinese links will not only upset Myanmar but the West and they may find US declaring them as terrorist group as part of their ongoing spat with China.
Esternlink has been contacted by several top Western media persons in the region for details on such links .