Sunday, November 19, 2017 | ePaper

Who are the ARSA?

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Al Jazeera News  :
More than 300,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their ancestral homeland in Myanmar's western region of Rakhine amid a campaign of murder, torture, arson and mass rape by Myanmar security forces and allied Buddhist mobs.
The latest mass exodus, which began on August 25, comes after a small group of Rohingya men attacked around 30 police and army posts in Rakhine State, killing 12 officers, according to the government.
Residents and witnesses have told Al Jazeera that the army retaliated with disproportionate force, burning down scores of Rohingya homes and villages as they tried to hunt down the attackers.
The Myanmar army has put the death toll at around 400, saying most of those killed were rebels. Residents, however, say it is more than 1,000 people.
The group that carried out the attacks has insisted it is acting in the best interests of the Rohingya - but who are they and what do they want?
The Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA), formerly known as Harakatul Yakeen, first emerged in October 2016 when it attacked three police outposts in the Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships, killing nine police   
officers. Despite facing decades of oppression, the predominantly Muslim Rohingya had largely refrained from violence.
Rohingya living in Maungdaw township told Al Jazeera that the men, numbering only a few dozen, stormed the outposts with sticks and knives, and after killing the officers, they fled with light weaponry.

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