Rohingya crisis: Is Arsa in Myanmar a group of terrorists or freedom fighters?


More than 300,000 people, most belonging to Burma’s Rohingya ethnic group have fled their country in to neighboring Bangladesh. The United Nations says 313,000 people, most belonging to Burma’s Rohingya ethnic group, have fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs to fetid roadside encampments in Bangladesh. The Rohingya (pronounced ROH-hihn-juh) have been referred to as the world’s “most friendless people” and are undoubtedly in need of protection.

A scared Rohinya man in the photo below.


Myanmar blames violence on armed Rohingya group. Watch this video below

Money and weapons are channeled through groups of Rohingya expatriates living in the Persian Gulf and Bangladesh and eventually reach Burma, where local fighters receive training. The ICG report says Arsa has growing popular support among Rohingya in Burma, but the recent crackdown was sparked by a coordinated Arsa attack on multiple Burmese border police posts that killed at least 12 officers last month. On the other hand, the crackdown may inspire many Rohingya to join the militants.


The military says it is responding to attacks by Rohingya militants and denies it is targeting civilians. The violence began on 25 August when the Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel. The Rohingya, a stateless mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, which says they are illegal immigrants.

Homeless Rohingya people in the photo below.

On Sunday, the Rohingya militant group behind the 25 August attacks declared a one-month unilateral ceasefire to allow aid agencies in, but the Myanmar government rejected it, saying it would not negotiate with “terrorists”. It maintains that it is the militants who are burning Rohingya villages and targeting civilians, but a BBC correspondent on an official visit to Rakhine came across a Muslim village apparently burned by Rakhine Buddhists, contradicting the official narrative.


Rohingya people are showing resistance. Watch this video below

But the Rohingya are extremely unpopular inside Myanmar. On Sunday, police fired rubber bullets to break up a mob attacking the home of a Muslim butcher in Magway region in central Myanmar. One protester was quoted by AFP news agency saying it was a response to events in Rakhine. Mr Zeid, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the current operation in Rakhine was “clearly disproportionate”. He noted that the situation could not be fully assessed because Myanmar had refused access to human rights investigators, but said the UN had received “multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages, and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians”.




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