YANGON: Myanmar authorities yesterday accused a Rohingya militant group of carrying out an attack that left one dead and three people missing — including a soldier — near the Bangladesh border.
The incident in Rakhine State, where scores have died in two rounds of communal unrest between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists, took place on Nov. 6 as the soldier and civilian engineers inspected a border fence near Maungdaw.
“One of the civilian staff was killed. We assume he was shot in the back when he tried to run away,” presidential office spokesman Zaw Htay said.
There has been no news on the whereabouts of the missing trio despite Bangladeshi border guards joining the hunt.
He said the authorities were blaming the RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organization) “which is illegally moving across the border. But we cannot say exactly yet.”
Tip-offs and bullet cases found at scene indicated the group carried out the attack, he added, without providing further details.
The US State Department has described the RSO as a Bangladesh-based militant group that has conducted attacks in the border area since tens of thousands of Muslims fled Rakhine to the neighboring country after a Myanmar’s military crackdown in the early 1990s.
Two major outbreaks of violence in Rakhine since June this year have left 180 dead and more than 110,000, most of them the Muslim Rohingya, crammed into makeshift camps.
The international community has urged Myanmar, which does not recognize the Rohingya as citizens, to address the group’s plight and the world’s top Islamic umbrella group has described their treatment as a “genocide”.
ASEAN chief Surin Pitsuwan has said “disturbing” ethnic violence against the Rohingya risked radicalizing the stateless group, while Bangladesh has been criticized for pushing back boatloads of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine.
The Rohingya stateless are viewed by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Myanmar’s government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and view them with hostility.