08/11/2022, 14.35
BANGLADESH – MYANMAR
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Two Rohingya leaders shot dead in Cox's Bazar

According to local sources, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, one of Myanmar's ethnic militias, is responsible for the double murder. In the last three months, at least five assassinations have been blamed on the group. Between 2016 and 2017, the Myanmar miliary targeted civilians in its response to attacks by the insurgent group.

Kutupalong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two Rohingya community leaders were shot dead yesterday in one of the refugee camps in Bangladesh, home to about a million refugees who fled Myanmar in 2017.

At least eight suspects took part in the murder of Syed Hossain, 40, and Abu Taleb, 35. “Both were rushed to hospitals where they were declared dead,” said a local police spokesman.

Security has been stepped up in the camps.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Rohingya blamed the assassinations on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a militant Islamic group operating in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine and refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Over the past three months, refugees have accused ARSA of at least five other murders among Rohingya leaders.

ARSA is one of Myanmar's armed ethnic militias and considers its actions a legitimate response to the oppression by the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw).

In August 2017, after some ARSA attacks on its military outposts, Myanmar’s military responded with an "eviction operation" in Rakhine State, driving out more than 700,000 civilians, the largest exodus from the country since the Second World War.

For the United Nations, the military’s actions were "war crimes" and "attempted genocide."

However, in an attempt to suppress ARSA’s activities, the year before, the military had committed brutal crimes against the Rohingya community. According to the former, the group is an “extremist terrorist” organisation.

In 2016, Amnesty International described the crackdown on the Rohingya as "collective punishment” against civilians accompanied by "widespread and systematic human rights violations against the group, including deliberately targeting the civilian population with little, or no regard for their connection to militants.”

The operation in 2016 forced about 90,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

After a military coup ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, ARSA was involved in just seven skirmishes against Myanmar troops.

Between 2018 and 2020, the group experienced a gradual decline and the Rohingya community began to decry its violent activities.

In recent weeks, Bangladeshi police have cracked down and arrested at least 800 people suspected of links to ARSA.

In September 2021, Mohib Ullah, a Rohingya rights activist, was shot dead.  Previously, he had been received at the White House.

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