Cities held by “Bengali terrorists”, i.e. Rohingya, retaken
For military authorities, the terrorists want to “get their own territory”. More than a hundred people have died in the violence with more than 10,000 forced to flee. About 4,000 Rohingya are stranded at the border with Bangladesh. According to the government, members of some international NGOs are involved with the militants.
Yangon (AsiaNews/RFA) – Myanmar's National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) held an emergency meeting today to discuss ongoing violence in the northern state of Rakhine.
Myanmar’s Armed Forces and government plan to boost efforts to prevent further attacks by Muslim Rohingya militants, which triggered another series of bloody clashes last week when they attacked 30 police outposts.
For the government, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which is behind the attacks, is a “terrorist group”.
“Military troops and security guards are trying to attain stability and security in the region,” said Major General Than Htut Thein yesterday.
“The Bengali extremists’ goal to get their own territory will be accomplished if our western defence is penetrated,” he added.
Following government practice, the general used a derogatory reference to the Rohingya, who are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Some analysts believe that Myanmar’s military will use the conflict to assert its power, as ordinary Myanmar people fear possible Islamist infiltrations in the country.
Meanwhile, the military held a meeting with diplomats at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) in Yangon.
“We have already said that the Rohingya do not exist in Myanmar,” said Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe during the briefing. “There is no Rohingya among our ethnic groups. [What] we have seen are the Bengalis in this region who have tried to destroy Myanmar’s rule of law.”
Lt Gen Kyaw used the occasion to reiterate claims by state media that members of some international non-governmental organisations were involved with the militants.
Human rights activists claim that some 10,000 ethnic Rakhine people have been driven from their homes and more than 7,000 Rohingya have fled towards the Bangladesh border.
About 18,000 Rohingya Muslims are estimated to have crossed into Bangladesh in the last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.
Some news agencies report that an estimated 4,000 Rohingya fleeing the new spate of violence are said to be stranded between Myanmar and Bangladesh.