Maungdaw, Arakan State: Authorities imposed a curfew in Ward 4 of Maungdaw town yesterday restricting people from congregating after 9pm, according to a local trader.

“Two or more people are not allowed to talk to each other after 9pm and people are totally prohibited from leaving their homes. Residents believe that the curfew will be imposed in other areas as the election gets closer,” the trader said.

Villagers in Maungdaw Township said the curfew could be the result of clashes between supporters of rival political parties.

“There was some hostility between supporters of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD). An NDPD supporter was arrested in Shwe Zaar village on Tuesday,” a villager said.

The Tactical Operation Commander of Buthidaung Township joined USDP candidate Aung Zaw Win, area businessmen, and local authorities at a meeting yesterday evening at 8pm at the Daywanawdee Hall of Trade Association in Maungdaw.

Many Maungdaw residents said they believed the idea for the curfew was likely hatched at the meeting, as well as other campaigning issues, according to an election watchdog group in Maungdaw.

Also yesterday, the deputy director of the Burma border security force Nasaka’s headquarters in Maungdaw went to Ywetnyotaung village of Nasaka Area 5 to campaign for the USDP.

“The USDP is a government-backed party. If you do not vote for the USDP candidates, they will still win in the upcoming election. It is the last chance for your community,” the deputy director was quoted as saying during a campaign event by a local schoolteacher who asked not to be named.

The deputy director is expected to hold a meeting today at 2pm at Kyauk Hla Gaar village to assemble residents from 16 area villages and campaign on behalf of the USDP.

Other party members campaigned in Myint Hlut and Aleythankyaw villages, where Aung Zaw Win told attendees that he would establish a hospital in Maungdaw town and would recruit employees from those who supported the USDP, according to a local elder.

Many residents are afraid of supporting NDPD candidates because of threats made by USDP candidates and other local officials.

An elder from Maungdaw said about 80 percent of people in the township support the NDPD, but that intimidation and threats have been swaying people to support the USDP.

During an NDPD campaign event in Bassara village in southern Maungdaw yesterday, area residents expressed widespread support for the party.

“The NDPD is a community-based party, and if we are elected we will try our best for the development of the community,” a local party leader said.

“Please cast your votes for our NDPD members.”