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Ashin Sekeina, a Buddhist monk from Arakan State capital Sittwe, has just completed his pilgrimage to Mrauk U, a 100-plus mile journey by foot in the name of peace and regional development.
He arrived at the gates of Chittaung Temple in Mrauk U on Sunday, after a six-day trek from Sittwe’s Ye Kyaw Thu Monastery. The monk deliberately forged his path through some of the area’s poorest and least developed villages, and he made stops in several Arakan towns including Ponnagyun and Kyauktaw.
Ashin Sekeina said he wants peace and ethnic harmony for Burma.
“I call for the very essential,” he said from his destination, “ethnic reconciliation in the country.”
Ashin Sekeina says he also has hopes for development of the resource-rich state, which is ironically one of the country’s poorest regions, second only to neighbouring Chin State.
“Despite our region having natural resources, such as gas and oil, we are a very impoverished state,” he said.
Ashin Sekeina walked parts of the route via rural roads connecting villages, to study the condition of education and health infrastructure. After reaching Ponnagyun, he continued to Mrauk-U along the Rangoon-Sittwe highway.
The walk was slow, he said, due to a recent operation, and upon his arrival Sekeina immediately checked into Mrauk U’s public hospital. While he is currently recovering from exhaustion, the monk said that he is preparing to write up a report on his observations of health and education in the villages he visited along the way.