Rohingya Militant Organisations Clash Along the Myanmar-Bangladesh Border

Fighting broke out between two Rohingya armed groups the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border on Wednesday morning. The fighting is said to have broken out in and around the no-man’s land close to Bangladesh’s Bandarban district. In the fight the RSO is said to have been joined by the Bangladeshi regular army.

The attack sources said were carried out to flush out the ARSA cadres from their hideouts in the area. During the attack several houses were torched, mostly those belonging to Rohingya refugees.

According to a Benar News report, houses which were sheltering about 3000 refugees were razed to the ground in the fire that broke out. The fire is said to have broken out during the firefight between the two sides which started around 7 AM in the morning and lasted until 4 PM. The violence left one person dead and a few injured.

Sources in Bandarban reported that many people have fled their camps and were crossing over to the Myanmar side, even as the fire also spread along the Myanmar side of the border.

The chief of Cox’s Bazar district police, Mahfuzul Islam, has been quoted in media reports as saying that the refugee who was killed, Hamid Ullah, was a resident of Kutupalong camp. Of the two injured Rohingya, one was a resident of the Jadimura camp in Teknaf, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar, and the other was 12 years old, Islam said.

The Bangladesh government has blamed the ARSA for the violence and has also warned that those involved in the fighting would be dealt with strongly. Some people have been taken into custody.

Of late the ARSA which was responsible for attack on Mynamar army posts in northern Rakhine in 017 resulting in a brutal backlash by the latter, has been losing its support base among the general Rohingya population.

According to a section of the Rohingya refugee who have managed to flee the camps in Bandarban, the ARSA is seen as a “a terror group involved in kidnaping refugees, indulging in rape and trafficking of illegal drugs across the border. The RSO has become more popular as an outfit which works for the protection of the Rohingya people and also fights the Myanmar military junta.

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