Myanmar Rohingya Crisis: Al Qaeda Warns Crimes against ‘Muslim Brothers’ Will Be Avenged
Ataullah Abu Jununi (C), commander of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), delivers a statement to the Myanmar government and ethnic groups in Rakhine state, Aug. 28, 2017
Sydney, MINA – Al Qaeda urges Muslims around the world to send aid, weapons and military support to Rohingya in Myanmar, threatening that the Government “shall be made to taste what our brothers have tasted”.
Al Qaeda’s intervention in the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar has stoked new fears that Rohingya militants have the backing of global jihadist groups, including Islamic State (IS), radioaustralia.net reported.
Al Qaeda has issued a statement urging Muslims around the world to send aid, weapons and military support to Rohingya Muslims in the majority Buddhist Rakhine state.
Nearly 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since late August after a brutal military crackdown by Myanmar’s military in retaliation for attacks by Rohingya militants on several police posts and an army base.
Al Qaeda has warned Myanmar will face punishment for its “crimes against the Rohingyas”.
“The savage treatment meted out to our Muslim brothers … shall not pass without punishment,” Al Qaeda said in a statement, according to the SITE monitoring group.
“The Government of Myanmar shall be made to taste what our Muslim brothers have tasted.”
The United Nations has condemned Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingyas as a “textbook” case of ethnic cleansing.
But Myanmar said it is dealing with a terrorist group, namely the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which has previously been linked to extremist groups including IS.
Rohingya militants and jihadist groups
A former Australian ambassador to Myanmar, Trevor Wilson, said ARSA shows many of the attributes of Islamist terrorist groups elsewhere.
“ARSA has declared links with Islamic State, uses crude anti-authoritarian propaganda, and shows a willingness to introduce arms into what was previously an ‘unarmed political struggle’,” he wrote in an online post for the Asian Studies Association.
“The utterly opportunistic nature of their public profile, and blatant use of ordinary Rohingya to cover for their own extremism are similarly shared attributes.”
‘Genocide’ in Myanmar
A report says that the systematic violation of human rights against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine falls within a defined framework of genocide.
Mr Wilson said ARSA’s destabilising influence in Myanmar has attracted attention from intelligence agencies, and referred specifically to a report on a news site run by exiled Burmese journalists — Mizzima — that said IS and Pakistan were behind the Rohingya attacks on Myanmar security forces.
It said the Rohingya leader behind the attacks, Hafiz Tohar, had spoken at length with extremists in Pakistan and Iraq in the two days before last month’s attacks on Myanmar security posts.
“Indian and Bangladesh intelligence officials say that they have intercepted three long-duration calls between Hafiz Tohar … that hold the key to why the militant group unleashed the pre-dawn offensive against Myanmar security forces,” the report said.
The report quoted an unnamed Bangladeshi intelligence officer who said the attacks on Myanmar forces aimed to cause trouble for Aung San Suu Kyi’s Government in Myanmar and bolster the Rohingya insurgency in Rakhine state.
Tohar is believed to have trained with the Pakistani Taliban, and is widely blamed for similar attacks in Myanmar last October. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj IslamicNews Agency (MINA)