Myanmar says 30 guerilla fighters killed in clashes after Rakhine border raids

Presidential office says border attacks were carried out by Aqa Mul Mujahidin.

Rohingya crisis: 'Latest violence marks predictable escalation in genocidal process'
Police forces prepare to patrol in Maungdaw township at Rakhine state, northeast Myanmar, October 12, 2016. Reuters

Myanmar has said 30 guerilla fighters have been killed in clashes over the weekend in the restive Rakhine state.

Reports had emerged last week about clashes in the border region in northwestern Myanmar between government forces and armed militants.

"We now have 30 insurgents dead and 29 captured alive," national police chief Zaw said in capital Naypyidaw on Monday, Radio Free Asia reported.

However, the government officials did not specify if all casualties happened during the cross-border raid by Islamic militants last week.

Muslim fighters who allegedly crossed borders from Bangladesh had raided three border posts in Myanmar, triggering retaliatory strikes and a massive combing operation by the troops.

As many as nine soldiers were killed in the raids, setting off a series of clashes that raised concerns in international human rights organisation.

Myanmar's presidential office released a statement last week saying the border attacks were carried out by Aqa Mul Mujahidin, an Islamic organization active in Muslim-majority Maungdaw.

"The attacks in Maungdaw were intended to promote extremist violent ideology among the majority Muslim population in the area," it said.

RFA reported earlier that the motive of the attack was the Myanmar government's decision to pull down illegally built mosques and other religious buildings in the townships.

Senior military officers said agencies in Myanmar and Bangladesh launched an investigation after the attacks. While authorities in Rakhine state say the Muslim attackers had links with the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), Bangladesh has disowned that theory.

'Most persecuted people'

Myanmar's Rohingya crisis has remained unsolved for decades despite international rights agencies raising voice against their suppression in a land where they have lived for generations.

The Buddhist nationalists in Myanamr call Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh while rights organisations call them one of the world's most persecuted peoples. The 1.1 million stateless Rohingya people in Myanmar say they belong there as their predecessors have lived in the country for generations. Thousands of Rohingya people live in refugee camps, in deplorable conditions.