At least three Rohingya refugees were killed and one injured after a landmine explosion near Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh, on Sunday. A security official said the explosion took place at Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari border in Bangladesh, while the refugees were fleeing from the Rakhine state, the Dhaka Tribune reported. Meanwhile, Myanmar has rebuffed a ceasefire declared by Muslim Rohingya militants, declaring simply that it did not negotiate with terrorists.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) took to Twitter to announce the truce in a statement, in which it urged “all humanitarian actors” to resume aid delivery to “all victims of humanitarian crisis irrespective of ethnic or religious background” during the ceasefire period, which runs until October 9. The ARSA also urged Myanmar to “reciprocate this humanitarian pause” in fighting. The spokesman for Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, however, said on Twitter: “We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists.” Myanmar says its security forces are carrying out clearance operations to defend against the ARSA, which the government has declared a terrorist organisation. Rohingya, described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, at least 270,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from the violence affected Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh where the limited shelter capacity is already exhausted. Amid a dramatic increase in the number of refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine state, UNHCR called for urgent action to address the root causes of the recent surge in violence, so that people are no longer compelled to flee and can eventually return home in safety and dignity. “In the last two weeks an estimated 2,70,000 Rohingya refugees have sought safety in Bangladesh. The limited shelter capacity is already exhausted. Refugees are now squatting in makeshift shelters that have mushroomed along the road and on available land in the Ukhiya and Teknaf areas,” said a UNHCR said, in a briefing in Geneva.
Myanmar troops launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state in response to attacks on three border posts on October 9 that killed nine police officers, since then many Rohingya Muslims have tried to move into Bangladesh illegally. Accusations by Rohingyas and rights groups of raping women, torching houses and killing civilians during their operations has been denied by Myanmar and the military. Rohingyas are not recognised by Myanmar as its citizens and are called Bengali by them.