Rohingya insurgents declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire, starting on Sunday, to enable aid groups to help ease a humanitarian crisis in northwest Myanmar, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Nearly 300,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and 30,000 non-Muslim civilians have been displaced inside Myanmar after the military launched a counter-offensive following attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) insurgents on 30 police posts and an army base on Aug. 25.
“ARSA strongly encourages all concerned humanitarian actors resume their humanitarian assistance to all victims of the humanitarian crisis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background during the ceasefire period,” ARSA said in a statement.
The impact of the move is unclear. The group does not appear to have been able to put up significant resistance against the military force unleashed in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state. In the last two weeks, thousands of homes have been burned down, dozens of villages uprooted and thousands of people are still on the move toward the border with Bangladesh.
The wave of hungry and traumatized refugees pouring into Bangladesh has strained aid agencies and local communities already helping hundreds of thousands displaced by previous waves of violence in Myanmar.
In its statement, ARSA called on the military to also lay down arms and allow humanitarian aid to all affected people.
Myanmar says its security forces are carrying out clearance operations to defend against ARSA, which the government has declared a terrorist organization.
Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the army and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes have mounted a campaign of arson aimed at driving out the Muslim population.