ARSA rebels in Bangladesh are to form an exiled force

Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh–Rebels of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) who have escaped the Myanmar forces into Bangladesh’s refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar are trying to form an exiled ARSA force to pursue fight against the Myanmar military.

Thai PBS news team recently visited Cox’s Bazaar on the Bangladeshi-Myanmar border and talked with some ARSA rebels who said they were determined to protect the Muslim Rohingyas although they were in exile.

One rebel said that the ARSA rebels were still in close contact while in Bangladesh and they were discussing the possibility of forming an exiled ARSA force because the rebels inside Rakhine state are weak and short of weapons and ammunition.

He said he himself joined ARSA about two months before the bloody clash between the rebels and Myanmar forces in Maungdaw township on Aug 25 last year.

Another ARSA rebel told Thai PBS that the rebels in Rakhine state were grouped into a cell of five members each and members of a cell would undertake an operation instructed by a chief whom they had never seen before.

The rebel claimed that there were 100-200 ARSA members in each of the 40 villages in Maungdaw township, but most of them are now among the refugees in Bangladesh, especially in Cox’s Bazaar.

Another source said that there were several ARSA rebels mingling among Rohingya refugees in 12 refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar.-Reporting by Hathairat Phaholtap