Rohingya Militants Regrouping in Western Burma

It may be mentioned that prior to 1 February military coup, which dethroned the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi government in Nay Pie Taw, the Rohingya crisis was highlighted by the international media outlets. Still today, over one hundred thousand Muslim Rohingya families from Rakhine (Arakan) State of western Burma are waiting to return homes from southern Bangladesh camps.

Nava J. Thakuria

Guwahati: As the world media continues to obsess with the Taliban forces in Afghanistan, a number of armed militant groups supporting the cause of Rohingya Muslims start regrouping in western Myanmar,
also known as Burma or  Brahmadesh. Taking advantage of the unrecognised military regime the Muslim rebels have strengthened its bases in trouble-torn south-east Asian country.

It may be mentioned that prior to 1 February military coup, which dethroned the democratically elected Aung San Suu Kyi government in Nay Pie Taw, the Rohingya crisis was highlighted by the international
media outlets. Still today, over one hundred thousand Muslim Rohingya families from Rakhine (Arakan) State of western Burma are waiting to return homes from southern Bangladesh camps.

Lately, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), armed militant outfit led by Abdullah Kane, etc are regrouping Buram-Bangladesh border areas. Incidents of frequent
attacks on the security forces in the international border localities have been reported where the ARSA militants are taking the lead, reported The Irrawaddy, an acclaimed newsmagazine of Myanmar.

RSO rebels remained silent after the 1990 military operations, but soon after the coup the group has taken advantage of the situation to revive their disruptive activities. Now they are sharing videos
threatening the Burmese security forces and reiterated their aim for a separate land for Rohingya Muslims. There are also reports of growing conflicts between the two active armed groups.

Even a Muslim organisation based in Bangladesh named Rohingya Nationalist Organization (RNO) alleged that the Abdullah led armed group restarted illegal activities in various localities. The RNO leaders even appealed to Arakan Army (AA), an insurgent outfit fighting for the political rights of ethnic Arakanese communities, to crush the gang. Despite the military rule in the country, the Abdullah followers continue their unruly activities.

Local residents claimed that Abdullah was detained by the authority twice but soon he got released. It proves that he enjoys some kind of ties with the Rakhine border guard police. He has some supporters too, who publicly stated that many robberies and murders were actually not done by  the Abdullah gang, but he is widely blamed for those acts.

“There have been attempts by the AA to apprehend Abdullah Kane, but they appear not to have been serious efforts because he has targeted only his fellow Muslims and not touched the ethnic Rakhine villages,” quoting a Rakhine source reported The Irrawaddy adding that there are some Muslim militia groups in northern Rakhine who are trained and armed by the AA insurgents.

“We have unconfirmed reports that soon after the Abdullah gang’s unofficial ceasefire with the Burmese security forces, the  AA has virtually established its authority in the province launching its own administrative and judicial system,” said Aung Zaw, editor of The Irrawaddy, while talking to this correspondent, adding that even the Muslim villagers are being included in the AA administrative
mechanism.

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