Rohingya refugee crisis a ‘grave security risk’, ICG warns

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army may “shift to cross-border attacks” using Bangladesh as a base for recruitment and training, conflict analysts ICG warned on Thursday. Above, a young Rohingya refugee holds a toy gun at the Shamlapur camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 07 December 2017
0

Rohingya refugee crisis a ‘grave security risk’, ICG warns

YANGON: Prolonged displacement of Rohingya refugees in squalid Bangladeshi camps poses a “grave security risk,” conflict analysts ICG warned Thursday, raising the specter of militants recruiting among the displaced and launching cross-border attacks on Myanmar.
Raids by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25 sparked the vicious Myanmar army response, which has forced more than 620,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine state for Bangladesh.
ARSA “appears determined to regroup and remain relevant” and may draw on desperate Rohingya refugees languishing in camps for future operations, the ICG International Crisis Group said in the report.
The group may “shift to cross-border attacks” using Bangladesh as a base for recruitment and training, the study said, cautioning the risk of an ever-deepening cycle of violence is all too real.
“Such attacks would have profoundly negative consequences,” straining Myanmar-Bangladesh relations and worsening contempt for the Rohingya “that would further diminish prospects of an eventual refugee return.”
Global outcry over the refugee crisis, one of the worst in recent history, has triggered a hyper-defensive response inside the country, where anti-Rohingya attitudes have hardened since ARSA’s emergence.
Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as a distinct ethnic group eligible for citizenship, instead calling them “Bengali,” suggesting they are illegal immigrants.
In another serious looming risk, ICG warned that Rohingya’s plight has become a “cause celebre of the Muslim world” with Al-Qaeda, Daesh and other global jihadi groups calling for attacks on Myanmar.
Myanmar’s military has repeatedly used the terror threat to justify its campaign in northern Rakhine state.
ARSA has distanced itself from any wider global cause for jihad, saying it is only fighting to protect Rohingya rights.
International pressure is ratcheting up on Myanmar.
This week the UN rights chief said Myanmar’s crackdown on the Rohingya showed possible “elements of genocide,” as calls for the safe and sustainable repatriation of refugees grows.
Myanmar refutes any wrongdoing saying it was forced into a defensive action by ARSA attacks.
It has agreed with Bangladesh to start repatriation of “eligible” refugees within a few months.
But there are widespread doubts over how many Rohingya can prove they are entitled to return to Rakhine, or want to go back to areas riddled with communal mistrust and where their villages were razed.
China, a key strategic ally of Myanmar, is pitching itself as an arbiter in the crisis, and has repeatedly urged the international community to take a softline on Myanmar.
But pressure is mounting in the West — particularly Washington — to reimpose targeted sanctions on Myanmar military figures.
Sanctions were slowly rolled back in recent years as reward for democratic gains after decades of outright junta rule.
The ICG study said any fresh sanctions would backfire by isolating Myanmar and calcifying hatred toward the Rohingya.


14 killed in Rio police, military operations

Updated 20 August 2018
0

14 killed in Rio police, military operations

  • The military said 4,200 soldiers, backed by armored vehicles and aircraft, entered the Alemao and Mare favela complexes
  • Brazil’s military took over all security in Rio de Janeiro six months ago in the face of escalating violent crime

RIO DE JANEIRO: At least 14 people were killed Monday in Rio de Janeiro during operations by soldiers and police against drug gangs in impoverished favelas and a suburb, officials and media reports said.
The military command heading security in Brazil’s second biggest city said eight people died in the sweep of favelas “and there could be more.”
No details were given on how the people were killed or who they were.
The military command said 4,200 soldiers, backed by armored vehicles and aircraft, entered the Alemao and Mare favela complexes — poor, densely populated swaths of city in large part run by heavily armed drug traffickers.
Troops removed roadblocks erected by drug gangs, followed up on tip offs against suspected traffickers, and checked vehicles and residents, the military said in a statement.
In addition, “troops distributed leaflets asking for cooperation from the population,” it said.
In all, the military said, some 550,000 residents were benefiting from “the positive effects” of the incursion.
In a separate incident in the Rio suburb of Niteroi, six suspected armed criminals were shot dead by police after a rush-hour car chase that briefly caused traffic chaos near one of Rio’s main bridges, Agencia Brasil and G1 news site reported.
Brazil’s military took over all security in Rio de Janeiro six months ago in the face of escalating violent crime and the local police’s inability to combat the well-armed drug gangs.