A police colonel working with a government information committee has accused alleged “Bengali terrorists” of murdering Maungdaw villagers in retaliation for collaborating with the government.
arakan mapThe Rohingya insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, has repeatedly denied claims that it targets civilians.
Police Colonel Nay Thu Soe from the Rakhine State Information Committee under the State Counsellor’s Office said that 32 such collaborators have been murdered since the counter-insurgency crackdown was launched in northern Rakhine State last October.
“The terrorists have been killing Bengalis who are considered to be traitors as well as those who cooperate with the government,” he said, referring to Rohingya by a name that many consider derogatory.
The most recent victim of the attacks was identified as Armi Ali, 38, chief of Tat Oo Chaung Village Group in Maungdaw township. Ten unknown assailants wearing black masks attacked and killed him with knives at his home in Phway Yar Village on the night of April 17, according to police.
“We are still trying to identify who those masked terrorists were,” said
Pol Col Nay Thu Soe. “We have arrested seven Bengalis on suspicions they were involved in the attack. We conducted an unexpected inspection in Western Indin Village, also known as Htone Sin Village, and arrested five people from this village. Another person from Thinbaw Kway Village and one person from Kyauk Pan Tu Village were also arrested on suspicion of having ties with bandit leader Abdula Kain. Abdula Kain’s group usually wears masks when they are active.”
Police patrols have been deployed in the area, and a phone number was given to residents so they could inform the military camps nearby of suspicious activity, he said.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), formerly known as Harakah Al Yaqeen, has said on social media that it condemns the killings, and has denounced violence against unarmed civilians.
“We do not commit any form of terrorism against any civilian regardless of their religious and ethnic origin as we do not subscribe to the notion of committing terrorism for our legitimate cause,” ARSA said in a March statement.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron