AP Exclusive: Myanmar verifying Muslim citizenship

By the Associated Press | November 30, 2012 | 2:33 AM EST

SIN THET MAW, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's government has launched a major operation aimed at verifying the citizenship of Muslims in western Rakhine state, the coastal territory that has been torn apart by Buddhist-Muslim violence since June.

Questions over whether the region's Muslim Rohingya population qualify for citizenship are at the heart of a crisis that has killed nearly 200 people and displaced 110,000 more.

A team of Associated Press journalists that traveled to the remote island village of Sin Thet Maw found immigration officers in the midst of a painstaking, census-like operation that took them house to house.

Rakhine state government spokesman Win Myaing says the operation began Nov. 8 in the township of Pauktaw, of which Sin Thet Maw is a part.

He says it will be carried out across all of Rakhine state.