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Civilians in Myanmar Trapped After Rohingya Insurgents Ambush Police Posts

27 August 2017

A militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, took responsibility for the Thursday night attacks on more than 25 locations, saying they were in defense of Rohingya communities that had been brutalized by government forces.

The statement said that an estimated 150 fighters staged coordinated attacks at around 1 a.m. local time in the northern Maungdaw township.

The latest attacks against government forces mark an escalation from a raid last October on a border security installation in northern Rakhine that killed nine security personnel.

She said the attacks underscored the importance of the government implementing recommendations of a commission that is chaired by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan.

Eight more policemen have been killed in renewed terrorist attacks in Maungtaw, Myanmar's Rakhine state since Friday morning, bringing the total number of the police losing their lives to 13, according to a release from the Defence Services Office.

Zaman said that thousands of unarmed civilians including women, children and elderly people from the Rakhine State had assembled close to the border and were making attempts to enter Bangladesh.

The Rohingya are denied citizenship and classified as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite having roots in the region that go back centuries, with communities marginalized and subject to communal violence.

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"Many Rohingya people are trying to enter the country, but we have a zero tolerance policy - no one will be allowed", Mohammad Ali Hossain, deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar district near the Myanmar border, told Reuters news agency.

A health worker who survived an attack at police station said scores of people stormed through the gate and some tossed handmade explosives into the rooms where some police had been sleeping. Tensions with the majority Buddhist population have been rumbling for years, and tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, accusing Myanmar authorities of ethnic persecution.

The leader of ARSA, Ata Ullah, has said hundreds of young Rohingya have joined the group, which says it is waging a legitimate defence against the army and for human rights.

Fleeing fresh attacks Saturday, the Rohingya Muslims were halted at the Naf river on the border with Bangladesh, Bangladeshi security officials said.

After the attacks, government forces evacuated several dozen government staffers and their families, as well as some 400 villagers from near the Nanthataung Philanthropic School, according to the State Counsellor Office Information Committee in Rangoon.

Mr Annan led worldwide condemnation of the attacks, saying he was "gravely concerned".

Civilians in Myanmar Trapped After Rohingya Insurgents Ambush Police Posts