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2024-06-17 13:25:12

70,000 Rohingyas trapped in Myanmar town

Online Desk

70,000 Rohingyas trapped in Myanmar town

Myanmar's Buddhist anti-junta rebels on Sunday night announced the start of their invasion of a Rohingya-dominated town in Myanmar's Rakhine state bordering Bangladesh, putting at risk the lives of 70,000 Muslim minorities, AFP reports.

Aung Kyaw Moe, deputy human rights minister in Myanmar's shadow National Unity Government, also an anti-junta outfit, told Reuters Sunday that the Rohingyas have virtually no place to run to.

The raging rebel vs junta fighting in Rakhine has seen both parties targeting Rohingyas ­­-- sparking fears of another mass refugee influx into Bangladesh. Across the country, the junta and Myanmar armed forces are fast losing ground to the rebels.

Rohingyas have faced persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for decades. The latest junta crackdown in 2017 resulted in more than a million of the Muslim minority group seeking refuge in squalid camps in resource-starved Bangladesh.

Last month, thousands of Rohingyas again fled towards Bangladesh, seeking safety from the escalating conflict, although the neighbouring country is reluctant to accept more refugees.

The powerful Arakan Army (AA), which is fighting for autonomy for Myanmar's Rakhine region, said late on Sunday that the predominant Rohingya population of Maungdaw town should leave by 9:00 pm ahead of a major anti-junta offensive.       

The AA's attack on Maungdaw is the latest in a months-long rebel onslaught against the Myanmar junta, which took power in a February 2021 coup, but now finds its military capabilities increasingly weakened.

"We are going to attack the remaining posts" of junta, the AA said in a statement, asking residents to stay clear of military positions in Maungdaw for their own safety.

However, in their last month's offensive, which saw a town around 25 km (15 miles) away from Maungdaw fall, the group was accused of accused of targeting the Rohingya community.

However, the AA denies the allegations.


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