On Sunday, May 3, authorities eased the internet blackout in Rakhine State, restoring internet access to Maungdaw township and parts of Buthidang township after almost one year without service. The internet was restored following the formation of a committee by the President Office on Wednesday, April 29, to investigate an earlier attack on a World Health Organization (WHO) vehicle that killed one person.
Pressure has also been mounting to restore service to help disseminate information about the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and coordinate measures to curb its spread across the territory.
Internet disruptions are expected to continue in Rakhine and Chin states over the near term. Related demonstrations are possible in affected areas amid a heightened security presence. Clashes between protesting residents and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Officials suspended internet service in nine townships in Rakhine and Chin states on June 21, 2019. Service was restored in five areas on September 1 following a "restoration of peace and stability." More than one million people in Rakhine and Chin states remain without internet.
Violence resumed in early December 2018 between Rakhine separatists and the military. The Arakan Army seeks greater autonomy for Buddhists in Rakhine state. According to the Myanmar office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 7500 displaced people are scattered across 29 sites in Rakhine due to the violence and 730,000 people in neighboring Bangladesh.
Individuals in Rakhine and Chin states are advised to monitor developments, prepare for continuing telecommunications disruptions, remain vigilant for militant and military activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel to Rakhine state, except the southern townships of Kyaukpyu, Ramree, Munaung, Toungup, Thandwe (including the tourist resort of Ngapali), and Gwa.
Copyright and Disclaimer