By Simon Lewis
SITTWE, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar pledged on Wednesday “no restrictions” on journalists visiting the troubled state of Rakhine this week, in the first official trip to include foreign reporters to mostly Rohingya Muslim villages affected by violence since October.
Eighteen Myanmar nationals and foreigners representing international media, including Reuters, arrived in the state capital of Sittwe on Wednesday ahead of a government-escorted visit to the northern areas of Buthidaung and Maungdaw, where most residents are stateless Rohingyas.
“There are no restrictions regarding the areas that you can report from,” said Thet Swe, a director at the Ministry of Information’s News and Periodicals Enterprise.
“We didn’t arrange any ‘for show’ places for news reporting,” he said.
Last year, Myanmar’s army unleashed a crackdown in the area after Rohingya militants attacked posts near the Bangladesh border, killing nine police officers.