Officials in Mandalay say the city is returning to normality and they hope to lift a 9pm-to-5am curfew “as soon as possible”.

The curfew, introduced under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, was imposed in six townships on July 3 and the following day extended to Patheingyi after buildings in the township were damaged following the funeral of a Buddhist man.

As of July 7, 429 people had been arrested for failing to abide by the curfew. Another 16 who have been accused of inciting the violence are being held for questioning but police are still yet to identify those responsible for the killing of a Buddhist man on the night of July 2 and a Muslim man the following morning.

“We’re still investigating who the culprits were in the cases of the two men who were killed,” Mandalay Region Minister for Border Affairs and Security Colonel Aung Kyaw Moe told The Myanmar Times on July 8.

He said that while the government was conscious of the economic impact of the curfew, particularly on low-paid workers, the safety of the city’s residents was more important.

“We are prioritising the peace and tranquility of the entire city over the economic situation of a minority,” he said.

“The city has returned to normal. We now have the situation completely under control and hope to withdraw [the] section 144 [order] as soon as possible.”

U Kyaw Than Tun, head of the Ministry of Information in Mandalay Region, said not all of those arrested for violating the curfew had been charged.

“Some were released after signing a guarantee [not to re-offend] while some are still being investigated. Now Mandalay is at peace,” he said.

While most local businesses were in favour of introducing the curfew, those who work at night want the restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible.

“We have returned to peace thanks to [the] section 144 [order] but we also want it to be withdrawn quickly,” said U Soe, who runs a beans and pulses wholesale business.

Col Aung Kyaw Moe said some of the security forces sent to maintain order in the city at the height of the violence had departed on July 8 but he insisted there was still “adequate” security in the city.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe