Myanmar’s army chief says the Rohingya has been never an ethnic group in the country and urged citizens to unite over the ‘Bengali issue’.
There were 93 clashes in the violence of extremist Bengalis that started to break out on Aug 25, it quoted the army chief saying.
“The violence was an organised attempt of extremist Bengalis in Rakhine State to build a stronghold in Buthidaung and Maungtaw,” the post read.
Since late August, more than 400,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border into neighbouring Bangladesh as the army continues its crackdown on insurgents, who attacked 30 police outposts and an army base in northwestern Rakhine state.
Boat carrying Rohingya refugees cross the Naf river to Bangladesh as smoke is seen rising from burning homes on the other side in Myanmar. Photo: bdnews24.com
The UN has described the military campaign as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” of Rohingyas while the Security Council in a statement called for an immediate end of violence.In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, many consider the 1.1 million Rohingyas, who are mostly Muslims, as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The crisis leading to the exodus of Rohingyas has left Myanmar’s de-facto head of state Aung San Suu Kyi in a difficult position.
She skipped the UN General Assembly amid critics calling to strip of her Nobel peace prize for failing to do enough to stop the humanitarian crisis.
Aung San Suu Kyi addressing the UN General Assembly last year. Reuters
The Myanmar government, however, said its leader ‘is never afraid of facing criticism or confronting problems.'”Perhaps she’s got more pressing matters here to deal with,” spokesman Aung Shin told Reuters on Sept 13.
As the influx of Rohingyas continues, pressure is mounting on Myanmar with the UN chief saying Suu Kyi must act now.
Secretary General Guterres speaks at a news conference ahead of the 72nd General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Sept 13, 2017. Reuters
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said she has ‘a last chance’ to stop the military crackdown on Rakhine state and ease the Rohingya crisis, the BBC reported on Sunday.”If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don’t see how this can be reversed in the future,” he said during an interview with BBC’s HARDtalk programme.
Guterres reiterated that the Rohingyas should be allowed to return to Myanmar.