Home Ministry urged to reconsider advisory on Rohingya Muslims

Saul Bowman
August 28, 2017

In addition, it is reported that according to authorities in the result of the continuing clashes in the North-Western part of the state Rakhane evacuated at least 4000 non-Muslim peasants, as thousands of other Muslims Rohingya tried to flee across the border to Bangladesh.

According to official figures, at least 98 people have died, including 80 militants and 12 soldiers or police, since armed members of the Rohingya ethnic group launched co-ordinated attacks on police and army posts in the far west of Burma.

Police intercepted a group of 70 Rohingya late Saturday after they crossed the "zero line" border zone, where Myanmar soldiers earlier fired mortars and machine guns at villagers making the unsafe dash from the northern state of Rakhine into Bangladesh.

Director general of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) major general Abul Hossain on Sunday warned that a tough reply will be given to Myanmar if any bullet from their side hits Bangladesh territory, reports news agency UNB.

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, told Reuters, an global news agency, that 4,000 "ethnic villagers" who had fled their villages had been evacuated.

The government said it was investigating whether global non-government organisation staff were involved when militants surrounded and blockaded a village in August.

In a statement Annan said he was "gravely concerned" by the latest outbreak of fighting.

More than 20 posts were targeted by Muslim militants in pre-dawn raids, the government said, in Rakhine's worst violence for months. A local reporter in the town of Buthidaung told Reuters he had seen almost 100 staff of global aid agencies leave the town in speedboats following that statement.

He said the military attacks carried out by Myanmar troops were indiscriminate. "They were pleading with us to not send them back to Myanmar", an officer said.

The report urged the scrapping of restrictions of movement and citizenship imposed on Rohingya.

In a statement that risked complicating his visit to Myanmar planned for later this year, Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the Rohingya. Many Myanmar Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. He was unable to describe the government's plans to help Rohingya civilians. At the no man's land near Gumdhum, dozens of Rohingya women, most wearing burqa, sat cramped under a few black plastic sheets shielding them from the harsh sun.

The government has declared the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) a terrorist organisation.

On Sunday Pope Francis made a fresh appeal on behalf of the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority, voicing his closeness to those suffering from recent violence, and asking that members of the ethnic group be given full rights.

Myanmar says the group is headed by Rohingya jihadists who were trained overseas but it is unclear how large the network is and they appear to be using homespun weapons in addition to guns seized during their raids.

Police said some of those detained had entered Bangladesh via the Ghumdhum border area - where the Myanmar forces unleashed the barrage of fire just hours earlier.

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