“A Rohingya armed group [Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army or ARSA] brandishing guns and swords is responsible for at least one, and potentially a second, massacre of up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children as well as additional unlawful killings and abductions of Hindu villagers in August 2017, Amnesty International revealed today after carrying out a detailed investigation inside Myanmar’s Rakhine State.”
“Amnesty International has also documented ARSA’s involvement in other killings and violent attacks against members of other ethnic and religious communities,” including Rakhine, Khami, Mro, and Thet.
Days before the killings, ARSA “attacked around 30 security force outposts in northern Rakhine State. The attacks, which were carefully planned and coordinated, came just hours after the release of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which had been tasked with identifying solutions for peace and development in one of Myanmar’s most underdeveloped and volatile regions. In the days that followed, ARSA fighters, along with some mobilized Rohingya villagers, engaged in scores of clashes with security forces.“
“Also known as Harakah al-Yaqin, or “the faith movement”, ARSA first came to prominence in October 2016 after launching similar, albeit smaller-scale, attacks on border police posts in northern Rakhine State, prompting a disproportionate military response also amounting to crimes against humanity. The group was established in the aftermath of violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State in 2012 and is comprised of a core group of trained fighters, estimated as in the hundreds, with access to small firearms and some home-made explosives.”
““ARSA’s appalling attacks were followed by the Myanmar military’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya population as a whole. Both must be condemned – human rights violations or abuses by one side never justify abuses or violations by the other,” said Tirana Hassan,” Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.