Myanmar army: 2 women killed in Rakhine operations

Army says women among 3 suspected attackers killed in troubled state hit by violence blamed on little-known extremist group

Myanmar army: 2 women killed in Rakhine operations

World Bulletin / News Desk

Myanmar’s military said Sunday that three suspected attackers -- two of them women -- were killed and four others captured by soldiers following an ambush in the troubled western state of Rakhine.

According to the army-run Myawady newspaper, two villagers and two police were injured Saturday in an ambush in Maungdaw Township, one of two towns that witnessed bloody raids on police station outposts last week.

“The three violent attackers including one man and two women attacked two police with swords in Lakeaing Village and tried to flee,” the report said. “The security forces shot them.”

It added that soldiers captured four other suspects in an area clearance operation Saturday.

The latest reported deaths would bring the number of people killed since deadly attacks on police station outposts Oct. 9 to at least 42 -- including nine police, four soldiers and 29 suspected attackers -- among them the two women.

The raided outposts are located in Maungdaw and Yathay Taung townships, two areas predominantly occupied by the country's stateless Rohingya Muslim population -- described by United Nations as one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world.

Myanmar’s government said Friday night that the raids were conducted by the Aqa Mul Mujahidin organization, which it described as being affiliated with the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a shadowy extremist group that takes its name from the Rohingya.

“The attacks in Maungdaw Township were systematically planned in advance over a long period of time, assisted by foreign funding and the support of members of foreign terrorist organizations,” said a statement from the Myanmar President’s Office.

Though most experts believe the RSO’s continued existence is a myth, the government has classified it as an extremist group and officials blame it for recent attacks on border areas.

According to the government, the Aqa Mul Mujahidin’s leader, identified as Havistoohar, previously attended a six-month Taliban training course in Pakistan and has four sisters and one brother living in Saudi Arabia.

The President’s Office said the group intended to spread propaganda by disseminating video files on the Internet and via social networks, in line with the methods of terrorist organizations such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Daesh, in order to attract greater foreign support and funding from domestic and foreign extremists.

Police confirmed that the 45-year-old Havistoohar appeared in a video file that has gone viral on social media since last weekend’s attacks.

The group received “significant” financial support from “extremist individuals in some Middle Eastern countries”, the statement said, adding that the funding was provided “secretly” through contacts between individuals.

The fatal attacks on police in Rakhine have been condemned by Muslim organizations in Myanmar.

Wunna Shwe, joint-secretary of the Yangon-based Islamic Religious Affairs Council Myanmar, said that such violent attacks are “totally unacceptable” no matter who carries them out.

“We, Myanmar Muslims, strongly condemn the attackers,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone Saturday.

“We will never support such attempts as terrorism never solves any problem,” he stressed.

In 2012, violence between the local Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine -- one of the poorest regions in Myanmar -- left around 57 Muslims and 31 Buddhists dead, some 100,000 people displaced in camps and more than 2,500 houses burned -- most of which belonged to Rohingya.

The state is home to around 1.2 million Rohingya, who have long been officially labeled as “Bengali” -- a term suggesting they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh -- and denied citizenship.​

Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2016, 11:22
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