21 January 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 08/28/2017, 18.33


    About 116 people die in anti-Rohingya violence, government blames “Bengali terrorists”

    On Friday, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked military outposts in the villages of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung. The violent clashes left 12 members of the security forces and more than a hundred of militants dead. The State Counsellor Office Information Committee told media not to use the word "insurgents". More than 4,000 non-Muslim residents (mainly Buddhists and Hindus) have been evacuated from the area. More than 2,000 Rohingya Muslims managed to reach Bangladesh, which has refused them entry.

    Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Government of Myanmar has declared the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) a terrorist organisation. The armed group carried out bloody attacks on 25 August against 30 military outposts.

    The State Counsellor Office Information Committee also issued a Statement saying that the media should refer to ARSA as Bengali terrorists and not as insurgents.

    Armed with sticks, knives and home-made bombs, ARSA militants attacked military outposts in the villages of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in the western state of Rakhine.

    The violent clashes left 12 members of the security and other government officials, including an immigration officer. About 104 militants also died.

    ARSA claimed responsibility for the attack on its Twitter account, calling them "defensive actions" against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims by government forces.

    "Burma has been ramping up military in Arakan state since last few weeks in order to derail the 'Kofi Annan Commission Report and Recommendations' by triggering an unrest in the state," ARSA said on its Twitter page. "Therefore, we have tried our best to avoid any potential conflict meanwhile."

    The group accused the "military and security forces" deployed in two areas of carrying out "raids; committing killings, loot[ings] in many Rohingya villages across the townships; and molesting Rohingya women."

    According to United Nations estimates, at least 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Myanmar. However, the government and most people in Myanmar do not consider them as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups. Instead, they are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and for this reason have been denied citizenship even though they have lived in the country for generations.

    On 24 August, Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary general and chairman of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, released the latter’s final report.

    Established a year ago, the Commission was tasked with investigating violence and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslim minority and proposing solutions to end ethnic-religious tensions.

    In the report, the Commission advises the Government of Myanmar to achieve social progress by encouraging investment and providing basic services in Rakhine.

    Key points include checking Rohingya's citizenship, issuing national registration cards, reducing tensions, and engaging in reconciliation through direct talks between communities.

    The document also mentions the need for border security, bilateral cooperation with Bangladesh, and greater anti-drug action. Another point to note is the call for the closure of refugee camps.

    The following day, Myanmar's de facto leader State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi firmly condemned the attacks on security forces, saying that violence was the result of the report’s release.

    “The government had been aware of the risk of the attacks to coincide with the release of the commission’s final report yesterday and had issued instruction to relevant Union ministers,” she said in the statement issued by her office.

    “It is clear that today’s attacks are a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts of those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine state,” she added. “We must not allow our work to be derailed by the violent actions of extremists.”

    The latest clashes, the bloodiest in five years, have worsened the humanitarian crisis. The Myanmar government has evacuated more than 4,000 non-Muslim residents (mainly Buddhists and Hindus), whilst more than 2,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border into Bangladesh.

    Fearing a new Rohingya exodus, Bangladesh has refused entry to new refugees and warned those already on its territory not to help others cross the border.

    On Sunday, Bangladesh police detained and deported about 90 miles Rohingya to Myanmar. On Saturday, it had intercepted 70.

    Over the week-end, international media have reported the shooting by Myanmar soldiers of civilians, especially women and children, as they tried to cross the Naf River, a natural border between the two countries.

    The latest acts of violence are likely to fuel even more ethnic tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya.

    Since sectarian violence broke out in 2012, more than 140,000 people have fled the region.

    According to the United Nations, more than 80,000 Rohingya have found refuge in Bangladesh since the crisis of last October. At that time, an armed group (presumed to be ARSA) had attacked some outposts. Some nine policemen were killed, provoking a harsh reaction by the Burmese army.

    According to the UN, it is very likely that many crimes against humanity were committed during the security operations. However, the Myanmar government has repeatedly rejected such allegations.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    22/07/2004 CHINA
    China tops world in censuring religious websites

    Access to AsiaNews also blocked

    24/06/2004 RUSSIA
    Freedom of expression on trial

    Press freedom under siege, Filipino journalists says

    19/05/2010 PAKISTAN – ISLAM
    Facebook blocked by blasphemy regulations
    A judge blocks the social networking website until 31 May because some users organised a competition for Muhammad caricatures. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy can include the death penalty. Account creators say extremists cannot “take away our freedom of speech”.

    24/03/2016 09:17:00 CHINA
    Zhang Kai, lawyer who defends China’s crosses from demolition, is released

    After appearing on television to "confess his crimes" and spending six months under "house arrest", the lawyer was released. Together with activists for civil liberties, he defended the Christian churches against Zhejiang province authorities.

    Editor's choices

    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.

    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison

    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®