New Delhi (Sputnik) – The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has claimed that they have no terror links and that their only objective is to secure equal rights for the Rohingya community in Myanmar. However, the group has threatened to continue attacking the state forces unless the government of Myanmar agrees to fulfill their demands.
“What Myanmar government is saying is that more than fifty percent of the villages of Rohingyas are intact, is a total lie. Myanmar government is trying to spread lies around the world and branding us as terrorists,” Abdus Shukur, a second-rung leader of ARSA, currently in exile in Bangladesh, told Sputnik.
A diplomat from Myanmar embassy in Delhi, who did not wish to be named, told Sputnik that "ARSA is basically a terrorist outfit" that should be dealt with accordingly.
"Our security forces are on alert. Our security force is ready to thwart any nefarious designs,” a diplomat added.
However, ARSA leader Shukur says they were forced into militancy as the state forces were creating problems in their otherwise peaceful movement aimed at securing the rights of the Rohingya community in their “homeland.”
“Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) mainly consists of Rohingyas and our objective is to get our due from the government. We want to live peacefully in our region but security forces create problems for us, therefore, we target them. The fact is that we have three rungs in ARSA. I belong to the second rung,” Shukur added.
Shukur also disclosed ARSA’s plan of launching a fresh attack on the state forces. He claimed that the group has the full support of locals in Rakhine province.
“I will sacrifice my life for freeing my homeland. I hope to live in my country. There are around 50 ARSA members who have taken shelter in Bangladesh. Local villagers support us, they provide us with food, shelter etc. We are planning another attack as we have done on August 25th.”
"The leaders of Myanmar, who have long been striving for freedom and human rights, will not espouse such policies. We will do everything to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide," Suan said.
Suan urged U.N. member states and the international community "to see the situation in northern Rakhine objectively and in an unbiased manner."