Rohingya militants declare one-month ceasefire

September 10, 2017



YANGON: Rohingya militants, whose August 25 raids in Myanmar's Rakhine State sparked an army crackdown that has seen nearly 300,000 of the Muslim minority flee to Bangladesh, on Sunday declared an immediate unilateral one-month ceasefire. 

"The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) hereby declares a temporary cessation of offensive military operations," it said in a statement on its Twitter handle @ARSA_Official, adding it was to allow for humanitarian aid to reach the battered region. 

The group urged "all humanitarian actors" to resume aid delivery to "all victims of humanitarian crisis irrespective of ethnic or religious background" during the ceasefire period which runs until October 9. 

It urged Myanmar to "reciprocate this humanitarian pause" in fighting, with huge numbers of displaced moving across Rakhine many believed to be in desperate need of help after over two weeks of violence. 

Its Twitter page is often the first to publish ARSA statements or direct readers to videos. Sunday's statement was signed by Ata Ullah, who purportedly commands the militants from jungle bases straddling the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Better-known locally as Harakah al-Yaqin (Faith Movement), ARSA launched coordinated raids using hundreds of militants on August 25 on around 30 police posts and state offices in northern Rakhine state. 

The kickback by security forces prompted the Rohingya exodus. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh say security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists killed villagers indiscriminately during their crackdown, setting fire to hundreds of villages. 

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