World, Asia - Pacific

Int'l Rohingya groups claim crackdown afoot in Myanmar

Say 10 innocent Rohingya killed by Myanmar military forces, police following death of 9 police in armed raids

10.10.2016
Int'l Rohingya groups claim crackdown afoot in Myanmar Rohingya Muslims, who have been living in the temporary camps since communal violence in 2012, are seen at Aungmingalar quarter in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state, on September 7, 2016. ( Kyaw Kyaw - Anadolu Agency )

Ankara

By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun

ANKARA 

Rohingya advocacy groups worldwide are voicing concern at what they claim is a violent crackdown on the Muslim minority group following the murder of nine police officers in Myanmar.

The nine died along with eight armed men in three separate attacks on police outposts on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in western Rakhine State early Sunday.

On Monday, a statement from the groups headlined Stop Killing Innocent Rohingya in Arakan (the British colonial name for Rakhine) claimed that following the attacks more than 10 innocent Rohingya were killed by Myanmar military forces and police.

"Mass arrests are taking place," it stated, adding that many Rohingya women had also been arrested in Wabek village in Maungdaw Township in Rakhine.

"In the past few hours seven Rohingya were shot dead by military forces in Myo Thugyi village in Maungdaw.

Despite police arresting two militants during the attacks, authorities are yet to confirm which group is responsible.

"We are not sure if the attackers are from the RSO, but they shouted the word 'Rohingya' during the raids,” Police Chief Zaw Win told a press conference Sunday, referring to the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO).

The RSO is a shadowy outfit that takes its name from the Muslim minority group, which has been described by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted.

Though most experts believe its existence is a myth, the government has classified it as a terrorist group and officials blame it for recent attacks on border areas.

The statement claimed there are no known armed Rohingya organizations, but other non-Rohingya armed organizations do exist in Rakhine.

"It appears some security or local government officials are privately briefing media that Rohingya people carried out the attack. There is no evidence for this," it added.

"They may be doing so because the attack took place in Rohingya areas, or to use the attack as a pretext for a crackdown on Rohingya."

It called on Aung San Suu Kyi's governing National League for Democracy to take immediate steps to ensure the rule of law is followed by the military, police and other security services and asked the international community to intervene with the government to ensure it enforces the rule of law.

"Action must also be taken against nationalists who are trying to exploit the deaths of these police officers to whip up anti Rohingya and anti-Muslim hatred and violence," it said.

The statement was signed by Rohingya organizations from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and the Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee.

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