Skip to main content

Rohingya militants may shift to cross-border attacks: International Crisis Group report

SINGAPORE - Rohingya Muslim insurgents who have fled Myanmar to seek refuge in Bangladesh camps may stage cross-border attacks, aiming at security targets and non-Muslims, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned in a new report.

But the non-governmental organisation cautioned countries against imposing further sanctions on Myanmar, saying these are "unlikely to produce positive change".

The report, "Myanmar's Rohingya crisis enters a dangerous new phase" published on Thursday (Dec 7), said the home-grown Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) militant group "appears determined to regroup and remain relevant" following its attacks on police posts and an army base in Rakhine state in August, which led to a security crackdown.

While it has not launched any new attack since then, it "will undoubtedly strive to do so", the report said.

Led by a network of respected local leaders, including young mullahs or religious leaders, Arsa has to date organised cells within hundreds of villages to try and start an uprising by sending large numbers of ordinary villagers to overrun police posts with farm tools, a departure from its previous approach of stationing uniformed, armed militants in camps, ICG added.

"Yet operating under cover of the civilian population is no longer possible given that few Rohingya villages remain. Most of the group's organisers and fighters are now in the Bangladesh camps," according to the report.

"The group may thus shift to cross-border attacks, which would require different training, access to weapons as well as operating space in Bangladesh," it said, adding it could aim at "opportunistic security targets in northern Rakhine or turn to attacking any non-Muslim villagers resettled on Rohingya lands, an easier target".

The ICG warned that such attacks could escalate tensions between Bangladesh and Myanmar, potentially leading to clashes between the militaries of the two countries. They would also reinforce anti-Rohingya sentiment within Myanmar and prompt stronger security measures, which would hinder the chances of the return of the refugees.

Furthermore, attacks against Rakhine Buddhists would inflame anti-Muslim sentiment and tip central Rakhine state - so far untouched by the recent violence - into crisis, the report added.

Dr Subir Bhaumik, a consulting editor with Mizzima Media in Myanmar, told The Straits Times he did not agree that Arsa has a large number of organised cells led by respected religious leaders. He estimated that there are up to 30 squads in northern Rakhine who are "led by young radicalised alienated Rohingyas, some of them mullahs".

"Respected Rohingya leaders have been terrorised into silence", he said, adding that the Arsa is seeking to eliminate Rohingya moderates.

He agreed with the report that Arsa will shift to cross-border insurgency and draw Rohingya recruits from Bangladesh refugee camps. The group will also target non-Rohingyas, especially ethnic Rakhines, settled on Rohingya lands.

"But the present government of Bangladesh is determined to not encourage Arsa because it has close links to its (Bangladesh) terror groups like JMB", or the Jama'at ul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

The ICG also urged against imposing international sanctions against Myanmar over the Rohingya refugee crisis , saying the community should resist from disengaging from the country but instead maintain development assistance and non-military engagement.

Policymakers should be "under no illusions" that the sanctions would bring positive change, but could only worsen the situation.

"Their most likely effect will thus be to push the government, military and population even closer together and to reinforce current narratives in Myanmar that the West is a fickle friend and unreliable partner," the report said.

Dr Oh Su-Ann, a visiting fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, told The Straits Times that assistance could come in the form of coordinating and facilitating, as well as providing programmes towards peace and reconciliation, as well as monetary donations especially to Bangladesh to help deal with the humanitarian crisis.

She said: "It would help if the international community were to provide assistance to both governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar while reducing their overt criticisms, as these would only succeed in increasing the us-versus-them attitude in Myanmar."


Popular posts from this blog

Google Apologizes for Buzz Privacy Issues

By David Coursey Google has responded to anger over its Buzz social network with an apology and second round of privacy-related changes.
People who read this also read:People Who Like This Also Like
Google Buzz: A Privacy Checklist30530736
Google Buzz Criticized for Disclosing Gmail Contacts30491320
The Buzz About Google Buzz30456756
EPIC Files Privacy Complaint Against Google Buzz30759636
Google Buzz Faces More Scrutiny Over Privacy30781886
Google Responds to Buzz Privacy Issues. Again30688868 The latest move replaces the controversial "auto-follow" feature with something Google calls "auto-suggest."
Saturday's revision was the second major change to Buzz since the service was introduced last Tuesday. Since then, Google had been besieged by complaints that Buzz endangers user privacy.

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyrightLELUXHOSPITALImage captionAuthorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break down melanin in the sk…

Religion Distribution in Myanmar

By Arakanese Indobhasa

Myanmar is situated in the Southeast Asia; its neighboring countries are Bangladesh in the West, India in the Northwest, China in the Northeast, Laos and Thailand in the East. It is well known as one of the Theravada Buddhist Countries in the world, and the population of Myanmar is over fifty million with 135 ethic groups of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhing and Shan.

Among these national races, Rakhaing, Sham, Mon and Bamar are the majority of Buddhist believers, and also it is known as a free worship country. Because it is a freedom worship country, there are many different kinds of believers based on their beliefs. The main religion is Buddhism, and it is also the majority one. The Distribution of Religious Beliefs in Myanmar is as the following:-