An armed militant group fighting Myanmar’s government on behalf of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority has issued a statement asserting its right to self defence and denying links to any terrorist groups.
The statement, dated March 29 but released on Tuesday through overseas sympathisers, is the first public announcement issued in the name of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which previously called itself the Faith Movement, or Harakah al-Yaqin. Analysts including the Brussels-based International Crisis Group say it has been carrying out armed resistance.
The statement says the group “came forward to defend, salvage and protect [the] Rohingya community in Arakan with our best capacities as we have the legitimate right under international law to defend ourselves in line with the principle of self defence”.
Arakan is another term for Rakhine, the western state of Myanmar where most of the country’s 1 million Rohingya live.