Rohingya started new Rakhine fires: Myanmar army chief office


Some 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown.

But a post on the page of the office of army chief Min Aung Hlaing said blazes at seven houses in a Rohingya village early Wednesday were started by an "Einu" or a militant from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

Bangladesh initially kept its border closed after violence broke out in Myanmar's western Rakhine, but later made a decision to open it up to Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.

"If at any stage the Burmese government is inclined to peace, then Arsa will welcome that inclination and reciprocate".

Myanmar's government spokesman did not respond to requests for comment yesterday but has previously said the country does not "negotiate with terrorists".

Hard-pressed to find space for a massive influx of Rohingya Muslim refugees, Bangladesh plans to chop down forest trees to extend a tent city sheltering destitute families fleeing ethnic violence in neighboring Myanmar.

Rohingya, a Muslim minority, do not qualify for Myanmar citizenship even though many have lived there for generations while its army insists they are interlopers from across the border in Bangladesh.

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Scores of Rohingya villages have been torched.

The Rohingya muslims are one of the minorities of Burma, a majority buddhist.

"International aid agencies say some 5,15,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh in six weeks since the end of August".

"We crossed the border the day before yesterday", said newly-arrived refugee Mohammad Hossain, explaining that his group was brought to the Balukhali camp in the Cox's Bazar district by the Bangladeshi army in a truck. "He married a Muslim who took shelter in Bangladesh".

The UN resident coordinator in capital Dhaka, Robert Watkins, said Bangladesh should look for new sites for the upcoming refugee camps instead of expanding the existing one.

By concentrating too many people in one space, a refugee camp of such size leaves enough scope for deadly diseases to spread like wildfire.

After the completion of the new camp, covering an area of about three thousand acres, it will be the world's largest, bigger than Bidi Bidi in Uganda and Dadaab in Kenya.