Locals in seven townships across Arakan State staged protests on Friday against a new radio station broadcasting in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships and providing Rohingya-language programming, which the protesters view as legitimising the Rohingya population.
The Arakan Army has alleged that Burma’s military used helicopter gunships over the weekend to launch offensives in Rakhine State’s Buthidaung Township, where some of the ethnic armed group’s troops are based.
The Rakhine State government is set to close down, by 2 November, temporary camps for internally displaced persons affected by the most recent violence to plague the state, insisting that calm has been restored at their original places of residence.
The ability of the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army to mount a much more ambitious assault last month compared with its attacks in northern Arakan State last year indicates that many young Rohingya men have been galvanised into supporting the group, sources say.
As attention increasingly focuses on the tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims amassing at already overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, thousands have also been displaced within Arakan State and more than 300 teachers in the conflict zone are “stranded” and in need of air-lifted evacuation.
Muslim militants in Burma staged a coordinated attack on 30 police posts and an army base in Arakan State on Friday, and at least 59 of the insurgents and 12 members of the security forces were killed, the army and government said.
Two members of Burma’s security forces were injured in a clash with militants on the troubled Arakan State border with Bangladesh, the State Counsellor’s office said, casting doubt on the government’s claim that the region had stabilised.
Arrests of Muslims suspected of involvement in the deadly 9 October assault on border police posts in northern Arakan State are continuing, with at least nine men detained over the last week, according to state media.
The Burmese government denied on Friday that a Buddhist mob ripped through a town in an isolated strife-torn corner of the country this week, attacking Muslim women and children. Villagers and a rights group said more than a dozen people may have been killed, and that hundreds have fled.