Myanmar Muslims condemn fatal Rakhine attacks


Yangoon—Muslims in Myanmar have condemned recent fatal attacks on police station outposts in troubled western Rakhine State which the government has blamed on a little-known extremist group.
About 40 people — including nine police, four soldiers and 26 suspected attackers — were killed following attacks on three police station outposts in Maungdaw and Yathay Taung townships early Sunday.
The areas are predominantly occupied by the country’s stateless Rohingya Muslim population — described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minority groups — although none of the assailants have been identified.
Myanmar’s government said Friday night that the raids that killed 9 police officers were conducted by the Aqa Mul Mujahidin organization, which it described as being affiliated with the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a shadowy extremist group that takes its name from the Rohingya.
“The attacks in Maungdaw Township were systematically planned in advance over a long period of time, assisted by foreign funding and the support of members of foreign terrorist organizations,” said a statement from the Myanmar President’s Office.
Though most experts believe the RSO’s continued existence is a myth, the government has classified it as an extremist group and officials blame it for recent attacks on border areas.
A former Rohingya lower house lawmaker told Anadolu Agency Friday that RSO had been extinguished long ago.
“The Bangladeshi government cracked down on the RSO two decades ago upon the request of Myanmar government, ”said Shwe Maung, who from 2011-16 represented Maungdaw. He added that the government had long blamed the RSO for the area’s problems, in an effort to darken the Rohingya name so that they could further persecute and oppress them.
“Since then, the RSO has stopped functioning and no activities by the group have been recorded,” Shwe Maung said in an email.—Agencies