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Foreign terrorist groups ‘most likely backing’ ARSA, says Min Aung Hlaing

FILE PHOTO: Commander-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing has had his Facebook page removed today. (Photo: Reuters)

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is most likely backed by and involved with foreign extremist groups, according to Burma’s Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.

Speaking yesterday at a meeting in Naypyidaw with Chief of Defence Force of the Singapore Armed Forces Lt-Gen Perry Lim, Burma’s highest ranking military man said, “It is most likely that terrorist organisations based in other countries are backing the ARSA extremist Bengali terrorists.

“For that reason, Myanmar will cooperate with other friendly countries in preventing acts of terror perpetrated by these terrorists,” he continued. “Several countries have endured experiences similar to those of Myanmar. That’s why we need to cooperate together more than ever.”

In reference to his use of the controversial term ‘Bengali’ when talking about Rohingya militants, Min Aung Hlaing told his Singaporean counterpart that, “Some may call them Rohingyas, but they are really Bengalis who have descended from the Bengal region to reside in Myanmar. Therefore, they must be called Bengalis.”

In response, according to a statement by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Singapore’s Lim said that he fully comprehends that the Burmese military has been “endeavoring to protect its citizens” during the crisis in Rakhine State, and said that Singapore is ready to provide any assistance that it can.