Rohingya militants condemn violence in refugee camps amid reports of killings

A Rohingya refugee walks at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. (Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain)
Updated 13 March 2019

Rohingya militants condemn violence in refugee camps amid reports of killings

  • The government calls them terrorists and says sweeping military action in the western state of Rakhine was justified
  • More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees crossed into Bangladesh from western Myanmar

YANGON: Myanmar’s Rohingya militants urged their followers on Wednesday to refrain from crime in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, following reports of killings and abductions attributed to the group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
ARSA, which emerged with attacks on border posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2016, is focused on winning rights for Rohingya, the mostly stateless Muslim minority long persecuted in Myanmar.
The government calls them terrorists and says sweeping military action in the western state of Rakhine, which triggered an exodus of refugees into Bangladesh, was justified.
In recent weeks, Bangladesh-based media has blamed the group for organized violence in the refugee camps, including a series of killings. The group acknowledged the violence but denied that the leadership sanctioned it.
“Those people are not only going against the Bangladesh government but are also making ARSA responsible for their own crimes,” the group said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
“And because of their activities the whole community is being defamed all over the world,” the group said.
ARSA expressed gratitude toward the Bangladesh government and urged refugees to “refrain from any wrongdoing” against authorities there, where close to a million Rohingya are living.
More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees crossed into Bangladesh from western Myanmar, UN agencies say, after the insurgents attacked Myanmar security forces in August 2017, triggering an extensive military response.
Since then, the insurgents have been blamed for sporadic attacks in Rakhine State, including an ambush on a border guard post in January that wounded six.
“Our activities for our legitimate rights are ongoing against the Burmese terrorist government and its genocidal military,” the group’s statement said, adding that attacks would continue until basic rights were restored.
The Myanmar military has rejected almost all accusations of rights abuses.


Mexico confirms first three cases of coronavirus, linked to Italy

Updated 29 February 2020

Mexico confirms first three cases of coronavirus, linked to Italy

  • The three men are believed to have visited northern Italy
  • Two more suspected cases are under analysis in the central state of Guanajuato and one in northwestern Durango
MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s health ministry said the country has confirmed three cases of the coronavirus, becoming the second Latin American nation reached by the global outbreak.
The three men — two in Mexico City and one in the northern state of Sinaloa — are all believed to have visited northern Italy, the epicenter of the virus in Europe.
“Probably all three were infected from the same source. All three are imported cases,” Jose Luis Alomia, general director of epidemiology at the Ministry of Health, said at a press conference Friday.
Senior health ministry official Hugo Lopez-Gatell told a separate news conference that one of the men, a 35-year-old in the capital, “has a mild, mild illness” with symptoms “similar to that of a cold.”
“He is a young individual and so he is at very low risk,” he said.
The patient and five members of his family have been isolated at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Lopez-Gatell added.
The second case, a 41-year-old man who returned from Bergamo in Italy, is in isolation at a hotel in Sinaloa after being tested by regional authorities, officials said.
A 59-year-old man in Mexico City who also visited northern Italy is the third case but authorities did not say whether he had been hospitalized.
Italy has recorded 650 cases of the coronavirus and 17 deaths across cities in the north.
In Mexico, two more, suspected cases are under analysis in the central state of Guanajuato and one in northwestern Durango.
“It is not a national or health emergency,” Lopez-Gatell said, urging Mexicans to remain calm and not panic-buy protective items such as masks.
Mexico is the second Latin American nation to confirm coronavirus infections after Brazil said it had a case on Wednesday.
More than 50 countries have now reported cases worldwide.
The virus has infected more than 85,000 people and over 2,900 have died — mostly in China where the epidemic started.