Shadowy group blamed for Myanmar policeman's death

Buddhist nationalist party chair blames Rohingya Solidarity Organization for overnight attacks on Rakhine police stations

Shadowy group blamed for Myanmar policeman's death

World Bulletin / News Desk

A shadowy extremist group is being blamed for the death of a policeman early Sunday and the injuring of several others after a group of armed men attacked police outposts on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in western Rakhine State.

The chair of Buddhist nationalist Arakan National Party has suggested the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) were responsible, although there are some doubts as to if the RSO even exists.

Around 3.a.m (2130GMT Saturday), attackers armed with rifles, knives and explosives stormed three Border Guard Police Force stations in Rakhine’s Maungdaw and Yathay Taung Townships -- areas predominantly occupied by the country's stateless Rohingya Muslim population.

A Maungdaw police officer told Anadolu Agency that one policeman was killed in a prolonged attack on a station in Kyee Kan Pyin village.

“A sergeant was killed by a gun shot, and two [officers] have been taken to hospital,” said the officer, who asked not to be named as he did not have authority to speak to media.

“The attackers took weapons from our armory,” he added, saying the attack -- which appeared "well planned" -- lasted for around 90 minutes.

It is still unclear how many were killed or injured in the other attacks, and no group has claimed responsibility.

On Sunday, a news report by the Democratic Voice of Burma website quoted the Arakan National Party chairman as saying that the RSO were responsible.

“Civilians do not have the ability to carry out such well-planned raids. Only well-trained attackers can do this,” Maung Shein said.

He claimed that members of the RSO had been trained in Bangladesh for the past three years.

The RSO takes its name from Rakhine's stateless Rohingya -- described by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minority groups.

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

On Sunday, an upper house lawmaker representing the area told Anadolu Agency that there was no other armed group other than the RSO in the area.

“Only RSO performs such attacks,” Kyaw Kyaw Win told Anadolu Agency by phone.

In 2014, Khin Maung Myint, head of foreign relations for the National Democratic Party for Development, claimed "the RSO hadn’t existed for 20 years”.

He said stories about RSO movements in the region had led to conspiracy theories and questioned whether the existence of the group was a government smokescreen.

Since mid-2012, Western Rakhine, one of the poorest regions in Myanmar, has been subject to incidents of communal violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya that have left nearly 100 dead and some 100,000 people displaced in camps.

On Oct. 3, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi called on ASEAN member states for support in solving the “complex situation” in Rakhine, home to around 1.2 million Rohingya.

Since her party's victory in the Nov. 8 election, Suu Kyi has been placed under tremendous international pressure to solve problems faced by Rohingya but has had to play a careful balancing act for fear of upsetting the country's nationalists, many of whom have accused Muslims of trying to eradicate the country's Buddhist traditions.

Suu Kyi has, however, enforced the notion that the root of many of the impoverished region's problems are economic, and is encouraging investment in the area, which in turn the NLD hopes will lead to reconciliation between the Buddhist and Muslim communities

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2016, 11:26